Sports

Paris 2024: UK Sport funding decisions signals shift towards greater diversity and winning ‘the right way’

Rowing is one of several sports that have seen a reduction in funding

UK Sport decisions on funding for Paris 2024 signal a move towards greater diversity and winning “the right way”, says chair Dame Katherine Grainger.

British sports will receive £352m for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, split across 43 sports.

New additions like surfing and skateboarding have been funded while some traditional sports have seen their budgets reduced.

“It is a really important and exciting moment,” Grainger told BBC Sport.

“There are two key things – broader diversity and broader engagement and that winning is still important but how we win is equally crucial to everyone in the system.

“Everyone is on board to make sure that we win in the right way and that it isn’t just a nice tagline to have.

“This isn’t just a phase it is an evolution of the system and the how [we win] being so powerful and popular now.”

Those with the right culture ‘not welcome’

UK Sport’s “no-compromise” approach linking funding strictly to medal potential – which was announced in 2004 – has been blamed for a series of recent athlete welfare and bullying scandals.

However, a change in strategy was announced in October, focusing the future funding of Olympic and Paralympic sport on medal potential over a 12-year period instead of four, with a “progressive approach” intended to produce success over a wider range of sports.

“What we’ve done is taken a holistic view of the sports in terms of looking at their athlete cohort and their potential for the future,” chief executive Sally Munday, told BBC Sport.

“We’ve looked at how they run their programmes, the cost of running their programmes, and we’ve looked at how they’re going to make sure that culture is at the heart of what they do.

“We’re very satisfied with the sports that we’re investing in that they are committed to having the right culture.

“We will work together with the sports to make it very clear that if you’re not going to put good positive culture at the heart of what you do you’re simply not welcome.”

Former rower Grainger – Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian – has been head of the national funding body for the last three years and she added: “We have a duty to do well by the public pound and to say it needs to reach as many as possible and in the right way.

“It needs to have this heart of solid integrity and trust in the system.

“I want our sporting community to be known internationally for its people-first approach and also known for upholding the highest standards of integrity.”

The winners and losers

While the funding represents an increase on the £345m allocated for the Tokyo Games and widens from 32 to 43 sports, some of Britain’s most successful sports have lost out.

Athletics, gymnastics, rowing and swimming have all had budgets cut by around 10% while sailing, canoeing, equestrian and modern pentathlon have also taken reductions.

Badminton has seen a significant increase and GB wheelchair rugby has had its funding restored. The sport received £3m in total in the run up to Rio 2016 but had all funding removed after failing to win a medal at the Games.

They have since won two European titles and climbed to number four in the world.

Britain won 67 medals at Rio 2016 and claimed 64 gold medals in the Paralympics.

British Rowing chief executive Andy Parkinson said he was not surprised to see a cut of around £2.4m for the sport in “difficult economic times”.

However, his counterpart at Pentathlon GB, Sara Heath, said she was “disappointed & perplexed” by a reduction of just over 20%.

In a statement, Pentathlon GB said it intended to lodge an appeal, with Heath stressing a “lack of parity… across the sports receiving this crucial funding”.

On the decision to cut funding for a number of sports, Munday added: “These are pretty tough times in terms of the financial envelope that is available to us and we have looked across the piece.

“We wanted to reach more sports than we’ve ever been able to before and as a result we have had to make some pretty tough decisions.

“I believe that the sports that have been consistently successful will continue to be successful with the funding that they have received.”

An additional new fund worth £3m will also be open to applications from other sports such as breaking, which is set to feature at the Olympics in Paris for the first time.

UK Sport is expected to expected to assess breaking’s potential over the next 12 months as they did when climbing, skateboarding, surfing and karate were all added to the Olympic programme for the first time.

Who got what?

In rowing, funding fell by almost 10%, while swimming (11.4%) and equestrian (11.6%) also saw sizable drops.

However, archery saw its funding more than double, badminton’s rose by around £2.5m (up by over 300%) and cycling got an increase of 12%

Olympic sport Amount awarded
Archery £2,134,257
Athletics £22,175,520
Badminton £3,154,358
Boxing £11,395,507
Canoeing £12,108,836
Cycling £27,601,684
Diving £8,463,542
Equestrian £11,085,964
Gymnastics £12,510,990
Hockey £12,376,622
Judo £5,446,804
Modern pentathlon £4,391,183
Rowing £22,212,008
Sailing £21,338,088
Shooting £5,802,749
Swimming £16,590,017
Taekwondo £7,776,898
Triathlon £6,806,550
Paralympic Sport Amount awarded
Boccia £3,473,835
Para-archery £2,633,644
Para-athletics £9,065,401
Para-badminton £1,106,833
Para-canoe £3,032,881
Para-cycling £7,829,158
Para-equestrian £3,011,243
Para-shooting £1,692,915
Para-rowing £3,139,577
Para-swimming £7,829,247
Para-table tennis £3,717,787
Para-taekwondo £563,162
Para-triathlon £3,814,618
Powerlifting £1,612,722
VI Judo £847,617
Wheelchair basketball £4,197,157
Wheelchair fencing £1,599,819
Wheelchair rugby £2,650,289
Progression Sport Amount awarded
Basketball £1,350,000
Climbing £1,562,811
Fencing £1,672,485
Skateboarding £1,672,485
Surfing £1,350,000
Table tennis £1,350,000
Weightlifting £1,350,000

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