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Volume 7 No. 149


UK Sport will "soften" its controversial "no compromise" approach to elite sport, which led to millions being funneled into the best medal hopes while sports such as badminton and wheelchair rugby had their funding "slashed," after a public consultation, according to Sean Ingle of the London GUARDIAN. No compromise, which was introduced 20 years ago, "brought huge success" at Olympic and Paralympic Games but it also "led to increasing questions about whether investing in fewer and fewer sports was the right way to inspire a nation." Under UK Sport’s new blueprint for elite sport, which will come into force after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, "more athletes will be funded across more sports." One "major change" is UK Sport will change its rules to allow it to fund sports with a "realistic chance" of making an Olympic podium in four to eight years -- "even if its current crop falls short." It will also set up a new "progression" funding stream to benefit up-and-coming sports and athletes. UK Sport Chair Katherine Grainger insisted the organization's main focus "would still be to win as many medals as possible." She said, "What we heard quite loud and clear from the public is they have not had enough yet. They want more" (GUARDIAN, 2/12). The PA reported UK Sport told the government Team GB "could top the medal tables" at the 2032 Games if it was given £3B ($3.8B) to invest in the nation's Olympic and Paralympic athletes. UK Sport's budget, which "comes from the public purse" and National Lottery proceeds, is set by the government every four years. During the current Tokyo 2020 cycle, the agency has invested £550M ($707M) in the high-performance system. But at the launch of its funding strategy for the 2024 and 2028 Games, Grainger set out the agency's "ambitious new target." She said, "We couldn't do it over one four-year cycle -- realistically, it would take three Olympic cycles, with the investment of £1 billion ($1.3B) each time, but the experts say it's possible" (PA, 2/12).