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SBD Global/January 29, 2013/OlympicsPrint All
NBA Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, of Britain, "piled into the debate about funding for Olympic team sports in a personal letter" to the Prime Minister, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The 27-year-old, who came to Britain as a refugee from Sudan as a child, "pleaded with David Cameron not to 'chuck away' the legacy of the London Olympics, where the men’s and women’s teams competed to packed houses." His letter "was published ahead of an informal appeal" by British Basketball on Wednesday "against the decision by UK Sport, the funding agency for elite athletes, to cut its funding" from £8.6M ($13.5M) over the London cycle to zero in the run-up to Rio 2016. Deng, who played in the 2012 Olympic team, said he found the decision "deeply upsetting and confusing" and would support a petition to try to overturn it. Deng said, "I truly feel like we are starting to put British Basketball on the map, and we are now being taken seriously on the world stage" (LONDON TIMES, 1/28).
PLENTY OF SUPPORT: The London EVENING STANDARD wrote the player's support "has been hailed by British Basketball." The body's performance Chair Roger Moreland said: "Luol's support for us is massively important. He recognizes the value of funding, not just for the elite levels of sport but to carry on investing in grassroots and creating a route for young people to realise their dreams." British Basketball "is also considering lodging a formal appeal to the Sport Dispute Resolution Panel" (EVENING STANDARD, 1/28).
The Int'l Paralympic Committee has outlined its plans to stage six Grand Prix events this spring and summer. The events will start in March with a three-day meeting in Dubai, UAE before heading to Beijing; São Paulo, Brazil; Grosseto, Italy; Arizona, U.S.; and Berlin. IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee Chair Ed Warner said, "This announcement is a direct legacy of London 2012 where the sport's profile was raised to astronomical levels" (IPC).
DOUBTS RAISED: In London, Hart & Davies reported Britain wheelchair racer David Weir said that combining Paralympic and able-bodied athletes for events "is the best way forward if the new grand prix series is to be sustainable." Weir: "If they promote the events well, it's a good idea. If they don’t promote them, my fear is that will peter out and fold, and we don’t want that." He added, "I think it would have been a good idea if we integrated with the able-bodied events. I think we'll get crowds and attendance in this country, but will the crowds be there if it is in Beijing or Shanghai? We were told the IPC World Championships in New Zealand was going to be a sell-out. There was no one there." Full integration is unlikely because "meetings would have to stretch to five or six hours to accommodate all the races and field events -- which would be highly unattractive to broadcasters" (TELEGRAPH, 1/28).
IN THE POOL: Additionally, the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships will be held Aug. 11-17 at Montreal's Parc Jean Drapeau Aquatic Complex. The event will be the first major gathering of int'l athletes since the London Paralympics, and is expected to attract around 650 swimmers from 50 countries