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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 09:26 GMT
Shooters braced for funding fight
By Scarlett Elworthy

Richard Faulds won double trap gold in Sydney
Faulds was unable to repeat his Sydney success in Athens

Britain's shooting chief John Leighton-Dyson is urging UK Sport bosses to give his team time to deliver more Olympic success and not slash their funding.

GB's shooters were unable to repeat their achievements of Sydney 2000 in Athens and under new criteria could find their budget for the Beijing Games in 2008 cut.

UK Sport is consulting various sports before deciding how to most effectively divide the 98m available for the nation's elite athletes ahead of the China challenge.

The organisation charged with developing world-class sporting success in the UK and distributing public money - including National Lottery cash - is targeting 35 medals in the Far East.

As a basis for its decisions, UK Sport is working with a proposed funding model which awards sports points for medals through to eighth-place finishes - and those who underperformed in Greece will not do well.

But Leighton-Dyson told BBC Sport: "Britain's shooters have only had a world-class performance programme for three years and I always said that Athens was going to come too soon."

Following Richard Faulds' double trap gold and Ian Peel's trap silver in Australia, there were high hopes for Britain's chances on the Markopoulo range this summer.

But the expectations turned to disappointment as Faulds failed to even qualify for his final and Peel, world junior champion Ed Ling and Sarah Gibbins - the only woman in the team - also faltered.

Now Leighton-Dyson, given a budget of 1.35m to prepare for Athens, must convince UK Sport that there are potential 2008 and 2012 medal winners among the ranks.

We went to Greece with the biggest team of shooters Britain has ever produced and I thought two medals - the same as in Sydney - would be realistic but luck was not on our side
John Leighton-Dyson
"I don't want to dwell on Athens," he said.

"I took up my post in November 2001 and I said then that we needed four years to start consistently producing top results.

"We went to Greece with the biggest team of shooters Britain has ever produced and I thought two medals - the same as in Sydney - would be realistic, but luck was not on our side.

"However, we've had some great results on the international circuit recently, coming second in the overall medal table at this year's European Championships and finishing fourth at the 2003 World Championships."

UK Sport will finish its consultations on 16 December and some sports could learn their fate as early as January.

Reports have claimed that Britain's gymnasts, who also underperformed in Athens, could have their budget reduced by 95% from 928,000 to 48,000.

Georgina Singleton missed out on an Olympic bronze in Athens

Judo has also been linked with cuts.

But UK Sport spokesman Matthew Crawcour said: "Nothing is signed and sealed.

"We are looking at the potential of each Olympic sport to deliver success and because we have 4m more available than for Athens, there will be more winners than losers.

"We have sympathy with the view that if a particular sport is not producing medallists at the highest level then they are the ones in need of most support.

"But they would benefit more from money being spent at the grassroots and our concern is with world-class performance."

Leighton-Dyson added: "I understand that UK Sport cannot plough money in without seeing results but a reduction in funding at this crucial developmental stage would affect our ability to bring on new talent and build for the future.

"Yes, Sydney put my sport on the map so to speak, but believe me when I say that there is so much more to come."

Links to more Shooting stories


GB picks shooting team
02 Jun 04 |  Shooting
Gibbins shoots for the stars
08 Aug 04 |  Shooting

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