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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
GB ski chief unhappy at fund cut
By Anna Thompson
BBC Winter Sports editor

Noel Baxter
Noel Baxter is having his funding cut before he reaches his prime
British ski chief Jason Cockburn has accused UK Sport of being short-sighted after the alpine skiing funding budget for the next four years was slashed.

The budget up until the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver has been reduced from 1.72m to 922,000.

Cockburn, Snowsport GB's chief executive, told BBC Sport: "We are disappointed by the decision.

"It will have an adverse effect on our up-and-coming athletes and I believe it is short-sighted."

Cockburn said it will be youngsters who are targeting the 2014 and 2018 Games who will see their programmes cut.

We are having to concentrate on the athletes who are performing at the top level now instead of the potential stars of the future

Jason Cockburn

And the men's technical programme - which features slalom skiers Alain and Noel Baxter - will also suffer too.

Cockburn said: "UK Sport are increasing funding for the 2012 summer Games because they are being held in London.

"Just two years later there will be more focus on British athletes at the Winter Olympics but that is when the impact from the reduced funding will be very evident, and that is a shame.

"We are having to concentrate on the athletes who are performing at the top level now instead of the potential stars of the future."

As well as cutting the overall budget, the Baxter brothers will no longer receive Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) individual sponsorship cash because their World Cup and Olympic results were not good enough.

Only downhill skiers Finlay Mickel and Chemmy Alcott and snowboarder Zoe Gillings will receive this.

UK Sport had stipulated it wanted top-eight results at the 2006 Winter Olympics to guarantee extra funding but Britain's best skiing result was Alcott's 11th in the women's downhill.

Cockburn added: "We were aware of the targets but it just did not happen at the Olympics.

"Noel has had credible results at two Winter Olympics now and he is only 24 yet his funding is being cut.

"If you look at the top 10 male downhill skiers in the world, their average age is 32, so we need to keep funding our athletes.

"This means we will have to try and get more commercial income to keep British skiing performing at the highest level." UK Sport announced an overall 20% increase for winter sports with bob skeleton and curling, which have been Britain's most successful events at the last two Olympics, receiving the bulk of the cash.

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SEE ALSO
GB winter sports given cash boost
27 Jul 06 |  Winter Sports


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