After a year in which training programmes were suspended, competitions cancelled and the Tokyo Paralympic Games postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic British Para Table Tennis received a massive boost today with the news that its funding for the next Paralympic cycle (2021-2025) has increased from £2,726,060 to £3,717,787.
The welcome news ensures that the BPTT team can focus on the preparations of its Performance squad athletes for Tokyo next year and aspirations for Paris 2024 with its Pathway, Development and Futures programmes.
“It is great news for us,” said BPTT Performance Director Gorazd Vecko. “With all the problems caused by the COVID situation and the review by the government, to get an increase in funding is amazing. I would like to say thank you to UK Sport and to Sally Munday and her team; I know how hard they have worked to maintain the funding for sports and I really appreciate the announcement that came to us today. I am really happy, not just for the team, but for the athletes because they can still do what they love to do and dream about the medals for Tokyo and Paris. It is a huge achievement for UK Sport that they have managed to secure the funding and I personally think that it is currently one of the best sports management systems in the world. We also appreciate the debt we owe everyone who supports the National Lottery and we will work as hard as we can to make the public proud again in Tokyo.”
With today’s announcement UK Sport has signalled its intent for the UK to become successful in a wider range of sports and build a high-performance sports community which reflects the diversity of British society. The shift is supported by a plan for investment of £352m into an increased number of sports (43) in the build up to the postponed Tokyo Games, through to the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport said: “2020 has been a hugely challenging year for all of us, but I’m proud to have seen Olympic and Paralympic sport and athletes playing their part in communities up and down the country. The postponement of the Tokyo Games has also shown just how much we’ve all missed coming together to cheer on our brilliant athletes.
“Over the past two decades we have established strong foundations on which to build the next iteration of this Great British sporting success story. The next chapter of this exciting journey is all about how we win on the global stage. I want our sporting community to be known internationally for its people-first approach and also known for upholding the highest standards of integrity.
“I’m delighted that thanks to the support of the Government and The National Lottery players, we’ve been able to set out clear support for our Olympic and Paralympic sports, to help them get ready for Tokyo and beyond.”
Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport said: “Over the past decade, one of Britain’s greatest success stories has been becoming an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse, supported by funding from the Government. Our elite athletes have helped to inspire many to take up sport for the first time, while promoting the best of Britain abroad and making the country proud.
“As we emerge from the pandemic our athletes will have our full support to focus on delivering more memorable medal-winning performances at Tokyo and beyond.”
Sally Munday, CEO of UK Sport said: “Today’s decisions signal our future ambition to broaden the areas in which we achieve global success and deepening our societal impact. This means supporting more sports via the World Class Programme and Progression Funding than ever before, as well as welcoming more athletes and staff from varied backgrounds into our high-performance sporting community so we better reflect the diversity of the country we represent.
“As a sector we must be better at reaching, connecting and inspiring the British public in order to deepen our societal impact in communities across the country, using the exceptional power of sport and our platform in the British conscious.
“I’m really pleased that we’ll be launching a new fund next year which will be open to any summer sport not on World Class Programme or Progression Funding.”
The funded Paralympic sports are:
World Class Programme – boccia, para-archery, para-athletics, para-badminton, para-canoe, para-cycling, para-equestrian, para-rowing, para-shooting, para-swimming, para-table tennis, para taekwondo, para-triathlon, powerlifting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby, VI judo.