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British Olympic team hit by funding cut

BRITAIN'S eight Olympic and four Paralympic sports have seen their Olympic funding slashed in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

UK Sport announced yesterday that fencing, handball, shooting, table tennis, volleyball/beach volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling, plus Paralympic sports fencing, goalball, volleyball and wheelchair basketball (women) would now have to share 11.2 million pounds of public money.

The figure means each sport will receive around a half (or even less) of the cash they got in the build-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"The past few months have not been easy for anyone, and the decisions we have taken have been tough," said UK Sport chair Sue Campbell.

"It was vital that, having successfully targeted our medal prospects, we also maximised the chances of every sport for London2012 within our limited resources.

"While a risk, I believe that the flexible and performance orientated approach we have announced today does just that."

The sports are the casualties of a 50 million pounds funding shortfall, brought about by the failure of a government campaign to bring in a single penny from the private sector.

The move has caused dismay amongst most of the sports that have been affected and will prompt worries whether the British Olympic team will be able to fulfill hopes of fielding a squad in every sport in London.

Water polo has suffered a fifty percent cut to 1.45 million, described as "pretty bleak" by the performance director Nick Hume.

"We think the absolute cheapest you could do it on would be about 2.5 million," he said.

"That would get two decent teams to London - on a real shoestring - but anything less than that and you would be really cobbling something together."

However, UK Sport indicated that an additional 1.8 million pounds from Sports Aid's talented athlete scholarship scheme could be available to promising athletes from these 12 sports.


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