Olympic and Paralympic sports fear 'cliff edge' moment

Seven Olympic and Paralympic sports will attempt to win a funding reprieve for Rio 2016 on Wednesday.

Last month UK Sport revealed a record £347m of investment over four years, with boxing and gymnastics among those to receive a substantial increase.

However, their "no compromise"  stance, backing only those with potential medal prospects, has divided opinion.

Funding-hit British sports:

  • Badminton: Down £1.5m
  • Basketball: Down £8.5m
  • Disability Archery: Down 119k
  • Handball: Down £3m
  • Judo: Down £0.7m
  • Powerlifting: Down 252k
  • Sitting Volleyball: Down 767k
  • Swimming: Down £3.7m
  • Table Tennis: Down £1.2m
  • Volleyball: Down £3.1m
  • Wheelchair fencing: Down 552k
  • Wrestling: Down £1.4m

Basketball, volleyball [three disciplines], wheelchair fencing and wrestling will contest funding cuts.

The other governing body to challenge December's financial award is British Triathlon, which despite a 3.9% increase, believes the Brownlee brothers' Olympic gold and bronze medals merited a more favourable award.

At Wednesday's meetings, each national governing body will be granted a 30-40-minute slot in front of the UK Sport board to make their case. Sports will learn whether they have been successful by Friday.

British Basketball has been very public in its appeal for support, with superstar Luol Deng revealing he had personally written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to reverse UK Sport's decision to pull all funding.

"I refuse to sit back and let that legacy be completely demolished for basketball," stated Deng.

In 2006, basketball was awarded £8.5m through to the 2012 Olympics, but that has been cut altogether.

Deng explains letter to Prime Minister

The men claimed a historic 90-58 victory over China at London 2012, while over the past six years the women's team have risen from the bottom of the global standings to their current position as world number 24.

"It was a complete shock," GB Basketball performance chairman Roger Moreland told BBC Sport.

"We had made such progress and we're now faced with a cliff edge where all of that could be lost."

Team sports like basketball, handball and volleyball must rely on grassroots funding to build for the future. Sport England says this will give the platform for elite success but governing bodies do not believe this is the case for team sports.

"In those [individual sports] you can come from nowhere and win a medal in four years," said British Volleyball president and former UK Sport chief executive Richard Callicott.

How the UK Sport hearing works

  • Each national governing body will be granted a 30-40-minute slot per-discipline in front of the UK Sport board
  • This will consist of a 15-minute presentation, followed by further discussions and additional questions lasting 15-20 minutes
  • Sports will learn whether they have been successful by Friday
  • If they are still unhappy with the outcome they will be able to submit a formal appeal

"You simply can't do that in team sports because you have so many individuals and you have to build them together."

As it stands, of British Volleyball's three disciplines, only women's beach volleyball will be financed through to 2016, with the indoor and sitting programmes to receive nothing.

Paralympic sports as a whole fared well in December's funding announcement, receiving a 43% increase with just four sports suffering reductions.

However the cuts for sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing meant neither will receive any UK Sport support in the build-up to Rio.

Volleyball England chief executive Lisa Wainwright said it could be a 'flame out' moment for the sport.

Her British Fencing counterpart Shuna Body also expressed dismay and pointed to the three bronze medals won in Paralympic disciplines at the recent World Cup event in Hungary as proof of the sport's potential.

"We were extremely disappointed to find out that we will not receive any funding from UK Sport in the Rio 2016 cycle, especially as as the performance programme has progressed significantly in the last three years," Body told BBC Sport.

GB neglecting Paralympic legacy

"We have some young fencers in the system progressing rapidly, who we feel have medal potential for Rio 2016."

Not all sports that have suffered cuts are appealing however.

Despite admitting they were furious to lose all funding, British Handball admit it will see little chance of convincing UK Sport to change its stance.

"UK Sport graded us fairly against their criteria," admitted GB Handball captain Bobby White. "We need to crack on rather than mope about."

UK Sport insists it has not set aside a budget in case any of the sports do produce a compelling argument for additional support, but says it does not mean finding extra money is impossible.