altFEWER of Britain's top Paralympic athletes will receive National Lottery funding in the build-up to London 2012, it was announced by UK Athletics today.


The overall number of disabled athletes supported by the UK Athletics World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) has been cut from the previous year of 42 to 33.


It follows the announcement last week to cut by 20 per cent the number of able-bodied athletes receiving support as the sport concentrates its resources on a smaller number of medal hopefuls.


Britain finished second overall in the medals table at the Beijing Paralympics with a total of 102 medals, including 42 gold.


But in track and field Britain finished only 18th behind Tunisia, Morocco, Mexico, Croatia and Ireland with 17 medals, two of which were gold, both won by David Weir (pictured).


There are 17 athletes in the podium category of funding but only Weir is eligible to receive the top figure of £25,383 per annum.


This absolute focus on London is crucial for the WCPP for potential 2012 Paralympic athletes because there will be no opportunity for our athletes to prove themselves on the international stage until the IPC World Championships in 2011, UK Athletics claimed.


As part of this more focussed approach, UK Athletics will also appoint of a new head coach for Paralympics, who will work with a specific remit for disability athletics.


The appointee is expected to be in post for the start of 2009. 


The funding levels work as follows:


· Podium A level: gold medallist at 2008 Paralympic Games and has demonstrated potential to win gold at 2011 IPC World Championships and/or 2012 Paralympic Games


· Podium B: silver or bronze medallist at 2008 Paralympic Games and has demonstrated potential to progress to gold at 2011 IPC World Championships


· Podium C: silver or bronze medallist at 2008 Paralympic Games and has demonstrated potential to medal again at 2011 IPC World Championships


· Development D: Potential medallists at major championships for whom exposure to the WCPP could enable them to progress to Podium level within two years


· Development (Talent confirmation): Athletes identified to have all the characteristics to make progression to becoming a Podium athlete a realistic possibility


· Talent: Athletes deemed to have the ‘raw talent’ necessary to progress onto Podium level with the assistance of foundation training in each of the “Five Rings” areas on this level of the programme  


The full list of athletes receiving National Lottery support is:


Mickey Bushell; Libby Clegg; Daniel Greaves; Sophie Hancock; Katrina Hart; Ian Jones; Chris Martin; John McFall; Stephen Miller; Kim Minett; Ben Rushgrove; Hazel Simpson; Nathan Stephens; David Weir; Daniel West; Claire Williams; Shelly Woods

Brian Alldis; Martin Crutchley; Katherine Deal;
David Devine; Thomas Green; Jenny McLoughlin; Kieron Murphy; Daniel Nobbs; Gemma Prescott; Bethany Woodward


Ola Abidogun; Hollie Arnold; Jonathon Adams; Hannah Cockcroft; Mark Hellard; Paul Willis