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Published in Sports Management Mar Apr 2017 issue 130
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UK Sport’s funding cuts to badminton will hurt the sport

Adrian Christy,

Chief Executive,

Badminton England


Thursday, 18 August 2016 is a date I’ll never forget. It was the day Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics; the first-ever Men’s Doubles medal for British badminton.

Friday, 9 December 2016 is another date I’ll never forget. Just 113 days after that historic moment in Rio, I took a call from UK Sport. The GB Badminton World Class Performance Programme would receive zero investment for the next Olympic cycle.

I’ve experienced an endless range of emotions – elation, pride, anger, frustration and bewilderment, to name a few.

Following this decision, we presented a strong case for the reinstatement of our World Class Performance Programme funding, based on our belief that we are very likely to win a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. We were determined because the ramifications of this investment decision are huge and go way beyond just the World Class Performance Programme.

The day before the UK Sport decision, the Active People Survey results were published, showing that badminton was the sixth most participated in sport in the country. The strategy that got us to that position, Discover Badminton, is clearly working.

Life after cuts
We must now be pragmatic and prepare for life without funding, and we are currently considering our options to secure alternative investment for a World Class Performance Programme that will inevitably be smaller but no less focused on winning medals.

Despite failing to persuade UK Sport to invest in our Tokyo 2020 programme, we remain a highly ambitious organisation and we are determined to protect against a possible drain of talent across our players, coaches and support staff, who will undoubtedly have opportunities elsewhere.

I want to protect the pathway we have created that is taking players all the way from the playground to the podium and I want us to be able to nurture those young players who are just starting out and are inspired by medal winning performances.

We must also ensure we protect our fans, who want to see the best of British badminton at the oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament in the world: the Yonex All England Championships.

We must protect our clubs, coaches and volunteers, who do amazing work getting people playing badminton and creating a lifelong habit of participation in the sport.

This will be an enormous challenge, and one I did not anticipate. Badminton England does not have the riches that are available to some other sports to help it financially bounce back from such a decision. What we do have, though, is great determination, fantastic talent and incredible resilience.

We’re focusing on the areas of the sport that can continue to deliver growth and success. This situation has to be seen as a hurdle in our path and once over it, we will be undoubtedly stronger.

Badminton in pain in spite of medals: Ellis and Langridge win bronze at Rio 2016
Badminton in pain in spite of medals: Ellis and Langridge win bronze at Rio 2016
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