Britain’s ability to win future Paralympic wheelchair tennis medals is “at risk” after having its funding cut by UK Sport ahead of the Tokyo Games.
The sport received £1,925,270 for the Rio cycle and the team won six medals, including men’s singles gold for Gordon Reid.
But UK Sport has decided that the sport should “fully self-fund” its world-class programme.
“The medal potential is not in question here,” said a UK Sport statement.
“We are operating within such fine margins of investment that we need to scrutinise every investment proposal for evidence of financial need.”
Elite wheelchair tennis in Britain is run by the Tennis Foundation charity, which works alongside the likes of the Lawn Tennis Association.
They say they are ‘disappointed’ by the UK Sport decision not to provide full funding to the programme.
UK Sport said that to “manage the transition” it will extend the current world class programme award to 30 June and has also agreed to provide Athlete Performance Awards to athletes for the Tokyo cycle, which the Tennis Foundation says accounts for around a quarter of their world-class programme costs.
But for subsequent cycles, the sport will need to finance their own performance strategy, which the Tennis Foundation says could affect their future medal chances.
“The decision to remove our core programme funding that we use to provide central support to the country’s best wheelchair tennis players clearly puts at risk our ability to continue the progress that was made in Rio,” said a statement.
“Our athletes won six medals (more than any other nation), including Gordon Reid’s memorable gold medal in the men’s singles event – success that has helped to inspire a record number of people to pick up a racquet and play wheelchair tennis across our network of venues.”
Tokyo Paralympics: Wheelchair tennis in UK Sport funding cut – BBC Sport