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Team GB given £50m for final push before Tokyo 2020

UK Sport said the extra cash will help athletes in their quest to break the records set at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Distance runner Mo Farah with his gold medals for victory in the Men’s 5000m and 10000m at Rio 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)
Distance runner Mo Farah with his gold medals for victory in the Men’s 5000m and 10000m at Rio 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

Team GB athletes will be given an extra £50 million to aid their attempts to bring back a record number of gold medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year.

The Prime Minister, who was mayor of London when the city hosted the 2012 Games, said the public money would go towards helping Britain remain near the top of the world medals charts.

Boris Johnson said the extra cash would support athletes “every step of the way” in their final year of preparations for the competition.

At Rio 2016, Great Britain took the second highest haul of gold medals, coming runner-up to the US with 27 first-place finishes.

The competitors won two more medals overall in Rio than four years’ previously on home soil.

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Boris Johnson hanging in mid-air after he got stuck on a zipwire at an Olympic event at Victoria Park in the capital while London mayor (Ben Kendall/PA)

UK Sport, the organisation that administers the funding, is offering financial support to a host of sports for the first time, including Paralympic taekwondo, para badminton, sport climbing – a competitive form of rock climbing – karate and BMX freestyle after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved for them to take place at Tokyo 2020.

Mr Johnson said: “The UK has repeatedly shown itself to be an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse, with our athletes putting in truly extraordinary performances over multiple Games.

“This further investment means we are right behind our elite athletes, backing them every step of the way as they strive towards medal success at Tokyo 2020.

“I have no doubt their efforts will inspire the nation, encouraging even more people to get involved in sport – just as we saw after our record-breaking performances at London 2012 and Rio 2016.”

We are rightly regarded as one of the world’s greatest Olympic and Paralympic nations and we want it to stay that way Nicky Morgan, Sports Secretary

The Conservative Party leader added: “We must continue to build on our legacy of London 2012, which gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the incredible talent in our country and deliver real lasting change across sport and our local communities.”

Following record hauls in 2012, Britain became the first host nation in history to better both its Olympic and Paralympic performance at the next Games.

UK Sport said it wanted to increase the number of sports the National Lottery-funded Team GB and Paralympics GB athletes win medals in at Tokyo 2020.

Chair of the organisation, Dame Katherine Grainger, said the additional £50 million granted by the Government would “give our athletes the best chance to achieve their dreams and inspire the whole nation”.

Sport Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We are rightly regarded as one of the world’s greatest Olympic and Paralympic nations and we want it to stay that way.

“Our support for our elite athletes is unwavering.

“Their efforts make the country proud, promote the best of the UK abroad and help to inspire a more healthy, active nation.”

Richard Kilty, the 2014 world indoor 60 metres champion and double European indoor champion in 2015 and 2017, said: “It’s going to be a really exciting year ahead for all athletes as we count down to Tokyo and this support puts us in the best possible shape to achieve.”

PA

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