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SBD Global/October 16, 2012/OlympicsPrint All
U.K. Culture Secretary Maria Miller will "attempt to quell growing concerns over the delivery of the promised Olympic legacy" by announcing a £17M ($27.3M) investment in "college sport makers" to help students get involved in sports, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The grassroots funding quango Sport England "will promise to fund 150 new jobs for full-time sports professionals in further education colleges over the next five years." The Department for Culture, Media and Sport "promised to concentrate much of the £1B ($1.6B) it will invest over the next five years through Sport England on youth sport and specifically the challenge of maintaining interest in physical activity after pupils leave school." The college sports makers, "consciously echoing" the name of the successful volunteer program during the Olympics, "will have a specific remit to ensure the sports on offer are attractive to young women and marketed effectively to them." More girls than boys drop out of sport in their teenage years. Sport England and the elite sport funding agency U.K. Sport "will shortly make a series of crucial decisions about how it will award its cash to governing bodies across the next four years" (GUARDIAN, 10/15).
English distance runner Paula Radcliffe has "had her funding withdrawn by U.K. Athletics" after missing the London Games and last year's World Championships because of injury, according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. The 38-year-old marathon world-record holder was removed from the board's National Lottery-funded World Class Performance Program, which has been "redefined from backing athletes with top-eight potential to those who are top-three contenders." As well as providing financial support, the program offers "access to coaches, facilities, medical staff and training camps" (REUTERS, 10/15). U.K. Athletics CEO Neil Black said, "I talked with Paula over the weekend, and she understood it. It is about medals for the future. It was what she expected. She dealt with it really well" (BBC, 10/15). In London, Owen Gibson reported that Radcliffe "has insisted she has no plans to retire." Radcliffe wrote on Twitter: "I'm not doing all this cross-training and getting this foot healthy and strong for nothing. Just to clarify I am very grateful for the support lottery funding gives us athletes and I fully expected to see it withdrawn." World Junior Championships Gold Medal sprinter Adam Gemili was added to the program for the first time. Liverpool heptathlon prospect Katarina Johnson-Thompson, discus thrower Lawrence Okoye and hurdler Lawrence Clarke have also been "awarded full funding for the first time" (GUARDIAN, 10/15).
NOT MAKING THE CUT: In London, Simon Hart wrote that Olympic Gold Medalists Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis, members of the 2004 Athens 4x100 relay team, have also "paid the price for a below-par '12 season." Other notable casualties include '07 world 400m Silver Medalist Nicola Sanders, '08 world indoor 60m Silver Medalist Jeanette Kwakye and '08 world junior 1,500m champion Stephanie Twell. Radcliffe's personal wealth means she is "means-tested out of receiving any personal allowance." Her omission from the program also means that she will no longer have access to free medical support -- "a considerable blow for an athlete who has suffered so many injury and health problems." World indoor champion Yamile Aldama remains on the program after turning 40 in August, while fellow triple jumper Phillips Idowu will continue to be funded despite his "high-profile bust-up" with U.K. Athletics this summer (TELEGRAPH, 10/15).
For a full list of athletes included on world class performance program '13, click here.