• Olympics

Basketball hammer blow as UK Sport withdraw funding

ESPN staff
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GB captain Drew Sullivan has blasted UK Sport's decision © Getty Images
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British Basketball has suffered a desperate blow heading into Rio 2016 after having all of its Olympic funding stripped for failing to meet its targets.

UK Sport gave the sport a reprieve last year despite neither the men's nor women's team qualifying for the world championships.

Synchronised swimming, water polo and weightlifting have also had their funding withdrawn.

GB captain Drew Sullivan, who led the team at London 2012, hit out at the decision on Twitter.

"This is a very significant point on our journey to Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020," said UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl.

"While there is a clear understanding now that our investment is based on merit and must be aligned behind our best medal prospects, it doesn't make the decisions any easier and I recognise it is a difficult time for the sports and athletes who have been withdrawn from funding.

"To continue funding sports where the evidence is telling us they cannot win a medal by 2020 would be a high risk strategy that compromises opportunities elsewhere."

British Basketball have also blasted the move. A statement said: "The UK Sport funding system can clearly deliver medals, but it appears to show bias against team and emerging sports. Basketball falls into both categories.

"How can a system abandon a sport where 70% of the participants are under the age of 25 and where around 50% of those that play come from BME [black and minority ethnic] communities?"

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