The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today announced the Aspiration Fund, a 3 million pound boost for some athletes working towards Tokyo 2020.
Georgina Usher, CEO of British Fencing, said, “ This news could not have come at a better time for our cohort of athletes who are aiming for qualification to Tokyo.
Since the loss of UK Sport World Class Funding after Rio, our top athletes have continued to commit themselves to doing what it takes to qualify to represent Great Britain in Tokyo, despite the constant financial struggle and limited support currently available. With an individual silver medal at the 2018 World Championships and some excellent recent team performances our athletes are in a great position to ensure that Great Britain will be represented in Tokyo 2020.
We hope that this fund will provide our athletes with the extra support that they will need to achieve qualification for Tokyo 2020 and thus inspire people of all ages to get involved with fencing.”
British Fencing Chair, Mark Lyttle said, “British Fencing is delighted with the announcement of this new Aspiration fund and will be working closely with UK Sport to maximise the support available to our athletes as they progress towards Tokyo 2020 qualification.”
Olympic and Paralympic sports outside the World Class Programme will be able to bid for additional investment to help more talented athletes compete at Tokyo 2020.
The £3 million Aspiration Fund will allow sports who do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes qualify.
Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, the new sports for the Tokyo Games and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.
Alongside their qualification plan, sports seeking funding will be asked to submit details of how they will capitalise on the impact of competing at the Games and engage and inspire communities.
The plans will also need to align with the outcomes set out in the Government’s Sporting Future strategy to redefine what success looks like in sport: physical well-being, mental well-being, individual development, social and community development and economic development.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:
“The Aspiration Fund will give more sports the chance to inspire the nation and shine at Tokyo 2020 and beyond. This £3 million bridges a gap between grassroots and elite funding, and will help sports grow and develop future champions.”
“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.”
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: “This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for some sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games.
“Many of the sports we are currently unable to support, while further away from reaching the podium, have great potential not only to inspire through their performances on the field of play but also to have a genuine social impact in communities across the UK.
“We’d like to thank the Government for their continued support for UK Sport’s mission to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.”
The grants will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
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