Eight sports begin appeal process over UK Sport funding for Tokyo 2020

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Eight sports will challenge UK Sport’s funding decisions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Seven – including badminton – were due to receive no investment for the four-year cycle leading into the Tokyo Games.

Powerlifting is also challenging UK Sport – but over the decision on who should manage its funding.

All sports have until Tuesday, 17 January to notify UK Sport of their intent to challenge the decisions.

In addition to badminton, goalball, table tennis, archery, fencing, weightlifting and wheelchair rugby complete the group of seven challenging the removal of their funding.

The decision to cut all funding for badminton came as a surprise after Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won bronze in Rio and helped GB better the target set by UK Sport.

Although proof of correct governance and ‘talent pathways’ for young athletes form part of the decision-making process, the most important element of any pitch for funding is to prove they have genuine medal prospects for the next Games.

“We’ve got a really strong case,” Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy told BBC Sport.

“Our understanding is that UK Sport doubt our Olympic medal credentials.

“However, we have players who have not only won Olympic medals but also won world tour titles and super-series titles and these are the biggest events in our sport and we are regularly beating the best in the world.”

British Powerlifting has objected to UK Sport allocating its £1.3m of funding to the English Institute of Sport (EIS) to manage, rather than British Weightlifting.

Ashley Metcalfe, British Weightlifting CEO, said: “Whilst we are very supportive of the EIS and the work that it does with not just our athletes, but all sports, we believe strongly against UK Sport’s decision to change the management of the GB powerlifting programme and will be taking the necessary steps to challenge this decision.”

Meanwhile, it has been claimed the decision not to support the British wheelchair rugby team represents a “discriminatory” attitude, although UK Sport believes the programme does not represent a credible medal prospect for Tokyo.

British wheelchair rugby says it will present “significant new facts” to UK Sport and has a “very strong case” for a funding reprieve.

The appeal process is essentially a second opportunity for officials to demonstrate why they deserve funding for the four-year cycle leading into the Tokyo Games.

UK Sport will reveal its findings by the end of February, with those still unhappy with any verdict able to make a formal appeal to the ‘Sport Resolutions’ board.

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