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UK Sport funding decision ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘catastrophic’, according to GB Badminton

By Matthew Campelli    12 Dec 2016
Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won an unexpected bronze medal at Rio 2016

UK Sport’s decision to cut funding to badminton’s elite programme has been labeled “incomprehensible” and “catastrophic” by the chief executive of the sport’s governing body.

Team GB pair Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won an unexpected bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but the success has not swayed the elite sports quango’s decision to cut its full £5.7m (US$7.2m, €6.8m) quota of funding for the sport.

Adrian Christy, GB Badminton’s CEO, said he was “staggered” by the decision, particularly in light of the nation’s “most successful Olympic Games since 2004” for badminton.

“How can you return from the best Games for more than a decade, in a year where our players demonstrated world-class performances and where we can demonstrate the journey to Tokyo is on track, only to have every penny of investment withdrawn?” he queried.

The decision means that Langridge and Ellis – who were at the centre of one of the stories of the Rio Games – and world number seven pair Chris and Gabby Adcock will lose all of their exchequer and National Lottery backing.

Shortly after the Games, Christy told Sports Management that while competition for money was “extremely tough”, he remained confident that badminton would continue to be backed.

“You had so many sports do well [during Rio 2016] and the well isn’t any deeper,” he said at the time. “Our presentation for Tokyo is about building on what we’ve done and making sure that we’re giving more that just two or three players the opportunity to medal.”

That opportunity has drastically dwindled with UK Sport’s decision. GB Badminton performance director Jon Austin added: “I have to now tell a group of world-class players and coaches that the progress they have demonstrated is not being recognised.”

Badminton was not the only sport to have its funding completely cut. British Fencing said that it would appeal UK Sport’s decision to stop investing in its World Class Programme, while British weightlifting claimed it was “shocked and devastated” to lose all its backing.

While past performance has some bearing on the choices made under UK Sport’s ‘no compromise’ approach, funding decisions mainly take into account future medal potential.

Organisations wanting to appeal can take one of two routes: a representation to UK Sport’s board can be made, where new performance information can be presented. Alternatively, NGBs can go down the formal appeal road with dispute organisation Sport Resolutions.

GB Badminton  UK Sport  funding  Olympics 
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