British surfers will receive official funding for the first time in a bid to help them secure qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Surfing will receive £192,500 as part of UK Sport’s new “aspiration fund”, which aims to support sports that do not currently receive full lottery funding.
Among the other Olympic and Paralympic sports, skateboarding (£166,825) and softball (£62,500) will also receive a proportion of the fund, with wheelchair rugby given the maximum possible investment, a £500,000 award.
“A lot of these sports have an ambition to qualify for Tokyo, whether or not they are competitive for medals we will have to wait and see,” Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport, told Sky Sports News.
“But what this fund does is make it possible for athletes who are mostly part-time to really prepare well for qualification events leading up to Tokyo 2020.”
Badminton, fencing, table tennis, archery, beach volleyball, artistic swimming, climbing, karate, goalball and weightlifting will also receive funding.
But men’s basketball has not received any extra funding, although the women’s game could be set to apply for additional funding and receive £118,000 from an “Unallocated Fund”.
Nicholl said: “It’s possible the unallocated fund could go to the women’s game. We believe they are in a better position at the elite level to perform and qualify for major events than the men currently are.”
Basketball has had a difficult year and at times a rocky relationship with UK Sport.
Earlier this year, British Basketball suggested they would be £900,000 short in the funding that the sport required.
In May, UK Sport allocated a unique funding package of £500,000 to help a sport that has struggled at elite level, but engages almost 175,000 people aged 14-25 each week.
It is a figure substantially higher than the participation numbers for cricket, tennis and golf, while over half of adult participants are from BAME backgrounds.
(c) Sky News 2018: British surfers to receive Tokyo 2020 Olympics funding