Sparkes welcomes UK Sport funding commitment to Water Polo

GB Ladies

British Swimming has welcomed confirmation of funding figures for all aquatic sports in the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
UK Sport announcement on 10 Dec 09 also saw additional support for water polo with an extra £1.45m in funding available through a combination of vital new investment from the Team 2012 initiative and adjustments to funding awards.
All “fully funded” sports, inclusive of the other aquatic disciplines, face a 1.5% inflationary rise in their funding and, while this has been cut back from an original 3%, British Swimming Chief Executive David Sparkes is confident that prudent management will ensure all the sports remain on target for the 2012 Games.
“We were going to get a 3% inflation rise across our sports but this is being cut back to an increase of 1.5%,” explained Sparkes. “This is a very sensible outcome and reflects the fact that inflation is running significantly lower in the current financial climate.  Although we’re not getting figures that we planned for, given the fact we’re operating within a tight financial environment, I’m confident we can deliver in terms of our performance goals in 2012.
“This investment means we now have the funds available to get the job done right. All aquatic sports have clearly made excellent progress this year with impressive results on the international stage and this additional funding will clearly enable us to continue this momentum.”
Water polo, which faced funding uncertainty at the beginning of the year, will now be able to put in place additional services and support to its athletes through the additional funding announced today which takes their funding from 2009 to 2013 to £2.9m.
“This announcement is great news for British Water Polo as the teams will receive an additional £1.45m as they continue to develop as an international force,” said Sparkes.
“It’s a welcome investment for water polo which recognises the tremendous improvements both the men’s and women’s teams have made this year. We will now be able to ask our athletes to prepare for the London Olympics full-time without the need to supplement their careers through other work.”
In terms of the water polo programmes the men’s team will remain off shore as they continue their preparations but will be provided with more support as they pursue their dreams. The women’s programme will continue in Manchester but again will be reinvigorated through additional support.
“Overall we think today’s announcement is great news to support the hard work taking place within the aquatic disciplines,” said Sparkes.
“We will obviously have to manage budgets carefully and work to our agreed plans to ensure there’s no impact on performance but British Swimming welcomes the confirmation of figures for our sports which enables us to focus on performance in 2012 and provides the stability we need to achieve our collective goals.
“We are currently in discussions with the British Olympic Association in regard to all the Olympic qualifying standards but we now envisage, through this funding, that water polo will be part of the largest aquatics team we’ve ever had at an Olympics as we continue on an upwards trajectory.”

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22:23:19 10.12.2009
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