British equestrian sport loses £2million ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • UK Sport funding awarded to the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) for the Olympic cycle in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Games is down just over £2million compared to Rio 2016.

    The maximum figure that equestrian sport is being given to work with is £19,635,180, compared to £21,712,400 in the run up to Rio. Funding across dressage, showjumping and eventing has dropped £2,567,831 from just under £18million (£17,929,600) to £15,361,769.

    The news for paradressage is brighter with an increase of almost £500,000 from £3,782,800 to £4,273,411.

    The British equestrian teams hit their targets for medals in Rio (equestrian: two to four medals; paraequestrian: eight to 11 medals) collecting two individual golds, courtesy of Nick Skelton in showjumping and Charlotte Dujardin in dressage, plus dressage team silver . The paradressage squad retained their unbeaten run as a team, collecting 11 medals along the way.

    Clare Salmon, chief executive of the BEF, said: “UK Sport’s confidence in the BEF’s Tokyo strategy is recognition of both the World Class programme’s success in the last cycle and the ambitious strategic change we are putting in place to build-on a winning culture across all the disciplines.

    “UK Sport’s continued support for equestrianism – through funding from the National Lottery and Exchequer – is an endorsement of the achievements on the world stage of our athletes, horses, support teams, owners and member bodies.”

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    Clare continues: “Over the last six weeks, we have taken real strides to demonstrate our commitment to a step change. We are conscious that the performance bar is going up all the time and equestrian sport cannot be complacent. So in that competitive context and a challenging funding landscape, we are delighted to see such positive recognition of our sport continue.

    “The development of a more tailored coaching programme, with greater emphasis on sports science, will underpin our preparations and enable us to focus on maintaining our winning edge.

    “We also recognise that we have to create a sustainable funding stream to complement UK Sport’s grant.”

    Equestrian is one of 31 sports awarded funding by UK Sport for the 2017-2021 period. The funding total across all sports is down £2million to £345million. Five sports have lost all their UK Sport funding ahead of the Tokyo Games: badminton, archery, fencing, weightlifting and wheelchair rugby.

    Look out for analysis of what the reduction in funding might mean for British equestrian sport in a future issue of H&H magazine.

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