Brailsford not impressed by funding cuts to Olympic programme
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Brailsford not impressed by funding cuts to Olympic programme

by VeloNation Press at 10:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track

British Cycling’s performance director Dave Brailsford has slammed the decision taken by UK Sport to cut funding for high-performance cycling, saying that it could limit the amount of medals won by riders in the London Olympics.

The cuts would see over half a million pounds being lopped off the budget, echoing similar reductions for rowing, sailing and swimming. Instead, a greater emphasis will be placed on sports which traditionally have not been focused upon before, such as handball, volleyball and wrestling. A total of £13 million is being channelled into those.

One of the aims for the London Games is to have British athletes in each of the sports on the programme. However Brailsford questions this, saying that it moves the emphasis from performance to participation and could cut the number of medals won.

"A funding reduction like this just two and a half years prior to the Olympics is a real disappointment," said Brailsford, according to the Guardian newspaper. "We've done our planning based on the original figures [announced after Beijing]and it will have an impact. The reduction in resources will have a material impact on the programme, which could influence performance.

“I understand and support UK Sport's position in increasing funding for some of the smaller sports," continued Brailsford, who also has a prime role with the new Team Sky. "But it's a shame it's come at the expense of those sports with a track record of delivering medals. I had always been led to believe funding was based on a meritocratic system. But if we're moving to a 'have-a-go' Olympics we'll just have to go with it."

In 2008 the cyclists took medals in fourteen events, eight of them gold, thus becoming the most successful team in British Olympic history. They are aiming to equal or even better than in London, drawing extra motivation from the fact that the Games will be held on home soil.

Despite the cuts, cycling is still extremely well supported. The reduction will see funding drop from £26.92m to £26.39m for the period 2009 to 2013.

UK Sport said that it had no plans to change its medal targets.


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