Olympic and Paralympic sport funding into 'uncharted territory' - Grainger

Dame Katherine Grainger
Dame Katherine Grainger is a five-time Olympic medallist, including gold at London 2012

The continued funding of British sport after the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics has entered "uncharted territory", says UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger.

However, Grainger hopes the government will extend their "incredible support" of athletes until next summer.

She says it is a "new headache" but is confident the government will "understand the challenges".

The current funding cycle runs until March 2021.

New dates for the Olympics and Paralympics have yet to be set but the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organisers say they must take place no later than summer 2021.

“No money would be taken back to try and fill any gaps so sports can still rely on the money they’ve been awarded,” five-time Olympic rowing medallist Grainger told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Everyone was awarded money up to March 2021 which is where our budget goes to.

“Now we’re in uncharted territory as to how we go from that March break point through to the summer where it looks like the Games are going to be, although the IOC is still to announce dates, so I think that’s the kind of conversation we’ll be having with the government.

“I don’t want to make any presumptions at this point but we’ve had incredible support from the government over many, many years for high performance sport so I would very much hope that they understand the challenges that we’re all facing in all the different sectors right now and they would want to see the Olympic and Paralympic teams supported as they always have been right through to the summer of 2021.”

Prior to Tuesday’s postponement of the Games, the IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the Games, but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.

Grainger said the decision “needed to be made”, adding the announcement was a “relief to everyone”.

“I think it relieved a big headache by making sure it wasn’t going to happen this year,” she said.

“I think it’s bought a lot of time for a lot of the athletes that need to now rethink about next year, and what it means for us is more conversations with the government.

“Understandably sport won’t be their most pressing issue right now, there are other bigger things at play in this country but at the same time we want to try and make sure we’ve got some security for the teams.

“We’ve effectively got a five-year programme now leading up to the Tokyo Games and then a shorter three-year programme leading up to Paris.

"Then what we want to do as much as we can, is that it can be business as usual once sport gets going again.”

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