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U.K. Sport Boosts Boxing Funding, Cuts Swimming for Rio

UK Sport slashed funds allocated to basketball, handball and swimming in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics after those sports were unsuccessful at London 2012. Boxing, athletics and equestrianism got a boost.

A record 347 million pounds ($563 million) will be invested in Olympic and Paralympic sports in the next four-year cycle, an increase of 11 percent. The rise was announced by UK Sport, the nation’s elite-sport funding agency.

“There is good news for a significant number of sports, but it will be painful for some,” the body’s Chief Executive Officer Liz Nicholl told reporters at a news conference in London.

UK Sport received about 313 million pounds from the government and the National Lottery in the four-year London cycle. Its allocation policy is based on rewarding success.

Basketball, handball, table tennis, wheelchair fencing, sitting volleyball and wrestling had their funding cut completely after winning no medals in London.

British swimming had its funding slashed by 15 percent to 21.4 million pounds after it won three medals, compared with a target of 5-7. Volleyball, which won no medals, will receive 400,000 pounds in the next four years for women’s beach volleyball only, down from 3.5 million before London.

Boxing Boost

Boxing was boosted by 44 percent to 13.8 million, the biggest percentage increase of all sports. Boxers, including the first-ever women’s gold medalist Nicola Adams, achieved the maximum target of five medals.

Rowing will get 32.6 million pounds, or 19 percent more, for exceeding its target by three medals. That’s the highest funding for any sport.

Equestrianism was boosted by a third to 17.9 million pounds after it won five medals -- one more than targeted -- including Britain’s first-ever golds in team and individual dressage. Athletics got a 7 percent lift to 26.8 million pounds.

British athletes finished third in the medal standings at the London Olympics with 29 golds and 65 overall, the nation’s best showing since 1908. Its Paralympic team won 120 medals.

Britain wants to become the first host nation “to be more successful” in the next Olympic cycle, Nicholl said. Host nations typically win fewer medals in the next games.

UK Sport is aiming for at least 66 medals in Rio, and at least 121 Paralympic medals, Nicholl said.

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