GB Climbing awarded £450K UK Sport Progression Funding

© Alex Messenger/GB Climbing

UK Sport has announced plans to invest £352 million in Olympic and Paralympic sport, including progression funding for seven sports - one of which is climbing.

Lynn Robinson, BMC President: "“It’s absolutely fantastic news that the BMC was successful in its bid and adds  © Alex Messenger/GB Climbing
Lynn Robinson, BMC President: It's absolutely fantastic news that the BMC was successful in its bid and adds a note of positivity to the start of 2021. Much work has been put into GB Climbing over recent years and we're really beginning to see the rewards of all that effort, and the new funding will help further reshape the future of GB Climbing.

The BMC successfully bid for UK Sport's 'Progression and Podium Athlete' funding to help GB Climbing's Performance Pathway. During 2020, developing GB climbing has been a priority for the BMC and the new funding will help in the following key areas:

  • Evolving and transforming the GB Climbing Performance Pathway
  • Developing, aligning and embedding elite coaches at pivotal stages in the pathway
  • Delivering a world-class domestic competition structure

In total, UK Sport will invest £450,000 in GB Climbing over the next 12 months. The funding will be used to continue support for Tokyo medal hopeful Shauna Coxsey up to the games and beyond, amongst other things.

Paul Davies, BMC interim CEO: “It’s not only our elite athletes – including Will Bosi, Molly Thompson-Smith a  © Alex Messenger/GB Climbing
Paul Davies, BMC interim CEO: It's not only our elite athletes, including Will Bosi, Molly Thompson-Smith and more, that will be supported by this funding either. We're excited of the potential it brings to evolve our Performance Pathway and help develop the best British competition climbing talent and coaches. It will ensure that our athletes have the best support from top coaches and access to the best training facilities, using the latest techniques all the way.

On hearing the news about the new funding, Shauna Coxsey said: '"I am so happy that despite the twists and turns of the Olympic journey so far that UK Sport is continuing to support me and the wider team all the way through to Tokyo in 2021."

The announcement is the third batch of funding from UK Sport, which builds upon the Aspiration funding, which recently enabled Molly Thompson-Smith and Will Bosi to prepare for and compete in the Moscow European Championships, and the Continuity funding allowing GB Climbing to deliver Covid-secure training for the Home Nation and National Talent squads and several Covid-secure competition opportunities.

The Guardian report that the UK Sport plans to invest in a more diverse range of sports will mean that so-called 'posh sports' such as rowing, sailing and equestrianism miss out. UK Sport's chief executive told the Guardian that the organisation wanted the teams at the Olympics to represent the diversity in society and not just traditional public school sports.

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Overall 1st place in the 2016 and 2017 IFSC Bouldering World Cup. Appointed MBE in 2016. Britain's first Sport Climbing athlete in Tokyo 2020.

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Molly is a member of the GB Climbing Team, holding multiple British Championship titles. In 2017, Molly won bronze in a Lead World Cup and earned a top 10 World Ranking. She is currently working towards...

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21 Dec, 2020

Is it likely that UK Sport give the money straight to the eligible climbers again rather than the BMC?

22 Dec, 2020


Will try to answer your question in two parts. Apologies for the all the incoming acronyms and lengthy explanations but welcome to the world of public funding!

The previous funding for climbing in the Tokyo Olympics was allocated under a 'Medal Support Plan' (MSP) which targeted a specific athlete with medal potential; in Climbing's case that was Shauna. The plan was formed and implemented by the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in partnership with the BMC. Since the disruption of the global pandemic, this fund has been extended to support Shauna through to the Games in 21 which was a part of this annoucement. This funding never went straight to the climber, but was allocated from UK Sport to a project managed by the EIS and supported by the BMC to deliver a plan for Shauna.

The new set of funding for Paris sets climbing out for 'Progression Funding' which is investment in teams and athletes for podium within 12 years. This is pretty different to the funding stream above where funding was based on the assumption of Shauna medalling in (initially) 2 years when the MSP was set up. The Progression fund is an interesting new step by UK Sport as a 12 year plan will cross UK Election and Olympic timeframes with the aim of identifying emerging talent and guiding them from junior all the way to senior (and hopefully podium).

As a slight side note - If you look at UK Government funding policies, most sit within an electoral term so a Minister/Party can deliver a party manifesto pledge so if this plan is implemented across multiple terms then it is really quite something so hats off to UK Sport for committing to this.

This funding is being allocated to GB Climbing (the competition arm of the BMC) and the full details will be worked out between them and UK Sport, but to answer your question - it is likely it will be allocated to them in this instance as the purpose of the fund is to build the infrastructure that will enable the sport as a whole to move up the UK Sport food chain in the future to become Podium Potential or Podium funding recipients which will have much more short term funding targets (i.e. winning medals).

What that infrastructure is and how it will all look in the short/medium and long term will be decided by GB Climbing and UK Sport.

Hope this helps.

Just seen on the BBC website ( which states climbing has been awarded £1,562,811.

Is this the same pot of money reported here or completely different and if the same why the disparity in amounts from the stated £450,000 in the headline here?

9 Jan

£450k is just the next 12 months, I think the higher figure covers 3 years.

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