Badminton England has welcomed news of the Sports Minister’s new Aspiration Fund to help more Olympic and Paralympic sports target Tokyo 2020 – and have confirmed they will prepare a bid for investment to bolster the medal-winning GB Badminton programme.
Announced today by Tracey Crouch MP (Minister for Sport and Civil Society), the new £3 million Aspiration Fund is open to Olympic and Paralympic sports outside the UK Sport programme to help more talented athletes compete at Tokyo 2020.
Sports must show how funding will grow the sport and inspire the public. Submissions will also need to align with the Government’s Sporting Future strategy: physical well-being, mental well-being, individual development, social and community development and economic development.
Despite being the nation’s most played racket sport with over one million people playing monthly and with a track record of capturing hearts and minds through World and Olympic medals, badminton is one of 18 Olympic and Paralympic sports currently not funded by UK Sport for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic cycle.
Since learning that it would receive no funding from UK Sport for Tokyo 2020 in December 2016, despite overachieving its medal target at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games just four months earlier, the badminton performance programme has undergone dramatic remodelling level but continued to delight fans with World, Commonwealth and European medal winning performances on court.
In face of this, all players on the England programme have seen improvements on their world rankings since Rio, and is well positioned for the Tokyo 2020 qualification year which starts in May 2019.
Badminton England Chief Executive, Adrian Christy, has publicly thanked Sports Minister Tracey Crouch MP for addressing the motivations of the Great British sporting public and has also welcomed the focus on legacy, not just success.
“This is fantastic news for those sports that were left unfunded following the Tokyo 2020 investment decisions.
“It is a really strong indication that, even when funds are tight, every sport does matter and we now look forward to developing a compelling application to UK Sport to support our players, maximising our qualification chances for 2020.
“I would like to thank the Minister for recognising the challenges faced by badminton, and many other sports; the establishment of this fund will help enormously with our collective efforts to make Britain even more proud of our Olympians. This support will enable more athletes from more sports to realise their dreams.
“It will also go even further to helping to inspire the nation as more sports have the opportunity to allow their athletes to potentially become great ambassadors and role models for sport in this country.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said “This £3 million bridges a gap between grassroots and elite funding, and will help sports grow and develop future champion.
“UK Sport investment has transformed Britain into an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse. But there are sports, not on UK Sport’s world class programme, that do a huge amount of good in communities that we can help on their path to the podium.”