DECEMBER 4 - WATER POLO, one of the eight sports that has failed to receive any funding to prepare for London 2012, today received a donation to help it continue its programme.

British Swimming said it had received a commitment, from an unnamed financial services business, of an undisclosed investment into water polo as the sport strives to be competitive in 2012.

Water polo was invented in England in 1876 and Britain dominated the early Olympic Games, winning gold medals in 1990, 1908, 1912 and 1920.

But in recent years it has fallen behind the rest of the world. 

UK Sport gave them £3.1 million in April 2006 to help them begin preparations for the London Games but in the latest round of funding they have yet to be told how much, if anything, they will receive because of a £50 million shortfall in the budget.

Therefore, British Swimming's chief executive David Sparkes was pleased with the donation.

He said: "I'm delighted with this strong gesture of support and hope the British public, water polo community, sporting fans and British businesses will come to our aid at this difficult time.   

"This is a significant sum, and is very appreciated, but on it's own it will not get the job done.

"However, if we can attract other companies to make similar offers we can keep this important water polo programme and develop strong teams for the London Olympics rather than losing out due to a lack of funding.

"With a number of other offers similar to this we can make sure the development of water polo continues and gives us every chance for London 2012."

The contribution will help towards the development of both the men's and women's teams, coaching staff required, training facilities and the programme as a whole.

Sparkes said: "This offer came completely out of the blue.

"This company isn't looking for commercial benefits from this deal they're simply anxious to see Britain's athletes and the water polo teams properly prepared for the challenge awaiting them in London 2012."