LONDON (Reuters) - Cycling, Britain’s most successful sport at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, has suffered a 4.29 million-pound ($5.4 million) funding cut in the build-up to the 2020 Games in Tokyo, UK Sport announced on Friday.
Four of Britain’s less successful Olympic sports - archery, badminton, fencing and weightlifting - have lost all their funding completely along with the Paralympic sport of wheelchair rugby.
Britain’s cyclists won 12 medals in Rio, including six golds, helped by investment of 30 million pounds but that figure has been cut to 25 million for the Olympic cycle leading up to Tokyo.
Overall, up to 345 million pounds of government and National Lottery funds will be allocated to British Olympic and Paralympic sports for Tokyo, compared with the 347 million pounds that underpinned the country’s record-breaking performances in Brazil.
Rod Carr, the chair of UK Sport, said the British government had offered “incredible support” as the nation sought to emulate in Tokyo the second-place finishes in the Rio Olympic and Paralympic medal tables.
Despite the cut, British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake welcomed the funding, calling it a “significant investment” and adding that the organisation was becoming less reliant on public money thanks to commercial support.
Badminton is the only sport to have won a medal - a single bronze - in Rio that had its funding cut completely.
“We are staggered by this decision, it is incomprehensible,” said Adrian Christy, chief executive of GB Badminton.
“Despite the most successful Olympic Games since 2004 for GB Badminton, the decision presents a catastrophic impact on the sport.”
Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport, said her organisation would like to invest in every sport.
“But the reality is that we have to prioritise within agreed resources to protect and enhance the medal potential within the system,” she said.
($1 = 0.7958 pounds)
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond