£2.7m boost for British equestrian sports on the road to 2024 Paris Games

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© BEF / Jon Stroud Media
© BEF / Jon Stroud Media

Funding for the British Equestrian’s Olympic and Paralympic disciplines on the road to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is down about 20 percent, but the organisation will still receive £2.77 million in the first year of funding from UK Sport.

Indicative funding for the Paris cycle for the Lottery-funded UK Sport World Class Programmes will benefit the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and showjumping by a confirmed £2.77 million ($NZ5.2m; $US3.7m) in year one, and para-dressage has been granted £753,000 ($NZ1.7m; $US1.4m).  This represents a reduction of about 22% for equestrian, which is in line with the majority of sports supported by UK Sport. Investment awards will be confirmed annually over the four-year cycle.

UK Sport also confirmed that investment for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games is secure, enabling athletes and support teams to continue to prepare for the Games with confidence.

The way UK Sport delivers its funding from Government and The National Lottery has been reviewed, with a new strategy to support more sports in becoming successful and engaging with the general public. Their overall funding has received an overall uplift despite the challenging economic circumstances, reflecting the importance of sport and activity to the nation.

British Equestrian Chief Executive Iain Graham said the organisation had been realistic in its expectation because of the current financial climate, and the funding was better than anticipated.

“This is still a sizeable investment and I’m grateful to the public who loyally play the National Lottery, which in turn allows us to turn funding into performance and inspire the next generation.”

Graham said the funding enables both human and equine athletes to maximise their potential and deliver success. “Overall, we’ve delivered over 80 medals on the championship stage since the advent of Lottery funding in the late 1990s, which illustrates the value and impact of the support. We also look forward to working in partnership with UK Sport on their strategy to engage and inspire the public through the magic of sport,” he said.

British Equestrian is eligible for Podium and Academy funding, which enables its four-tier programme for athletes. These key programmes help human and equine athletes with access to the very best practitioners in coaching and sports science and medicine, who work in parallel with their home teams. Athletes on the Podium programme are also eligible for Athlete Performance Allowance Awards, which are means-tested grants from UK Sport and separate to this overall funding.

The core team behind the delivery of the Equestrian World Class Programme will now set in motion a process of reviewing budgets and plans to align with the funding levels.

Performance Director Richard Waygood said he was prepared for a reduction “because everyone is having to tighten their belts across all walks of life”.

“We’ll adapt and work smarter under a resilient programme to ensure our athletes are not impacted and still have the tools to perform to their best ability. We’re currently in a good place in our Tokyo build-up and can now look forward to planning our Paris campaign with confidence. We will work hard to ensure equestrian maintains its rightful place in the greater British sporting landscape and inspire the public to support our athletes.”

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