Sport climbing has been named as one of fourteen Olympic and Paralympic sports receiving investment from the new £3m Aspiration Fund to help support British athletes in their ambitions to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sport climbing will be backed by a £192,500 investment from the fund.
The Aspiration Fund, which was announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in October this year, aims to support sports which do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes realise ambitions for the Tokyo Games.
Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, new sports for Tokyo 2020, and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.
Following a UK Sport Board meeting earlier this week, it was decided that skateboarding, surfing and softball, which are all new additions to the Olympic programme for Tokyo, will receive investment from the fund, marking the first time they have ever received UK Sport funding.
Sport climbing and karate, completing the five new sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, currently receive UK Sport individual athlete medal support plan funding, but both will now be backed with additional investment from the Aspiration Fund. Earlier this year, Shauna Coxsey was named by UK Sport as the athlete with the highest medal potential in the GB Climbing Team and is the only climber to benefit from this initial investment stream.
Funding will also be provided for the Olympic sports of badminton, archery, beach volleyball, fencing, artistic swimming and table tennis.
Grants from the Aspiration Fund are capped at £500k for team sports and £275k for individual sports - a plan which will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
Zoe Spriggins, BMC Competitions Programme Manager, said: "We're very excited about this announcement. It's a great opportunity to improve the chances of our GB Climbing Team athletes making it through the selection process to represent us at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
"The funding will help us support our athletes with the training, coaching, and dedication, required for winning on the world stage. If we're up against the best we need to be fully prepared."
Kevin Howett, Mountaineering Scotland's Sport Development Officer, said: "William Bosi shows some of the best potential for the three disciplines of Sport Climbing in the Olympics, and it has been his ambition to climb at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games since hearing it will be included.
"We have been supporting William for the last five years and have seen him go from strength to strength. This investment from the Aspiration Fund will be vital to help him train to reach his goal."
The GB Climbing Team is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, Berghaus, and Rock Over Climbing, and the GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. Many UK walls also support the British Climbing Team through free or subsidised entry.