UK Sport has announced budget plans to fund GB climbing athletes with genuine medal potential. Reigning and two-time IFSC Bouldering World Cup Champion Shauna Coxsey has been named by UK Sport as the athlete with the highest medal potential in the GB Climbing Team and will be the only climber to benefit from the investment stream initially.
The high performance sports agency hopes to support climbing with an award of up to £630,000, subject to approval of a plan and associated budget for this resource.
During the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 3rd August 2016, Sport Climbing was selected as part of a package of five new sports - alongside baseball/softball, surfing, skateboarding and karate - to be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive, says: "UK Sport's vision is to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success. Today's announcement, following the annual investment review into our summer sports, confirms strong potential to deliver more medal moments from more sports in Tokyo 2020. Exciting new events such as sport climbing, karate, para taekwondo and BMX freestyle will be funded to inspire a whole new generation of Olympic and Paralympic sports fans and it is fantastic that we already have world class talents ready to compete for medals in those events and more."
Costs are based on implementing a 'Medal Support Plan' around key athletes. Any investment would be subject to the BMC agreeing to the programme being implemented through a partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS). The EIS would be the recipient of the award, and be responsible for forming and implementing the plan in partnership with the BMC.
Dave Turnbull, BMC CEO, commented: "This is a great result for our top climbers and competition climbing as a whole in the run-up to Tokyo 2020. We've had some world class results in recent years and it's great to see these achievements recognised through government funding. We look forward to working with the EIS to ensure our climbers have the very best possible chance of medal success."
Shauna Coxsey told the BMC: "Today my journey to the Olympics became a little bit more real. UK Sport has announced its commitment to fund Climbing and I am fortunate enough to be recognised as a potential medalist. This funding will enable me to access elite level training support and help me to become the best climber I can possibly be. I am more motivated than ever to train hard and pursue my goals! I would like to thank all those who have supported me on my journey so far. It's going to be an exciting few years! Bring on Tokyo 2020."
The GB Climbing Team has a number of younger hopefuls with medal potential too, such as Molly Thompson-Smith, Will Bosi, Hannah Slaney and Jim Pope amongst others. They will now have to prove their prowess on the 2018 competition circuit to win a share of the UK Sport funding.
Zoe Spriggins, BMC competitions programme manager, says: "It's inspiring to see Climbing and the dedicated GB Climbing Team athletes gain recognition through government funding. We're excited to be working to help competition climbing realise its potential in the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, and look forward to partnering with the EIS during this historic time."
Read more on UK Sport's website.
Read more on the BMC website.