Hockey chiefs happy with UK Sport funding boost
PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 December 2016
Olympic gold medalists recognised in Tokyo 2020 cycle
England and Great Britain Hockey have had their Olympic achievements recognised by UK Sport in terms of funding for the Tokyo 2020 cycle.
The GB women’s gold medal-winning match in Rio was recently voted the people’s highlight in the nation’s most successful modern Olympics.
And the governing body will now be in a position to support a greater number of athletes in its programme, with 80 full or part-time contracts to be awarded (40 women and 40 men), up from 64 in the build-up to the Rio games.
The dramatic victory over the Netherlands helped GB athletes achieve their goal of inspiring the future and they have carried that forward with hundreds of school and club visits and countless media and business appearances to further promote the sport since their return home.
All of those factors combined to ensure they can utilise the gold medal to create a nation where hockey matters and deliver against UK Sport’s vision of inspiring a nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.
The new funding cycle will enable hockey to make further strides for the women and our men and drive an ambition to deliver repeated medal-winning success.
There are separate challenges now for the two squads, with women’s coach Danny Kerry starting planning for Tokyo just two days after gold in Rio and speaking about the importance of ‘winning after winning’.
The men had a number of positive tournaments in the four-year cycle but know they now need to progress this into regular podium finishes and are taking part in the World League on home soil in 2017.
The women’s World Cup is also being held in London in 2018, with planning well underway, and chief executive Sally Munday said: “I would like to thank UK Sport, the National Lottery and the Government for their continued funding of sport in this country and specifically hockey.
“Rio was a shining example of how the model creates success. For hockey, we are very pleased with the opportunity that our funding affords us, and with 80 athletes on our programme we have a real chance to make a difference, both on the pitch and in terms of visibility for our fantastic sport.
“I have been so proud of our athletes this year, not just with the way our women won gold, but with the way they have harnessed that medal to inspire thousands of people to play and follow hockey. Our men have reflected honestly on their performance in Rio and we and they are clear what needs to be done to get on the podium in Tokyo.
“I would also like to thank Investec and all of our sponsors, their contribution is vital and this is the perfect time for any new sponsors to come on board at the beginning of a four-year cycle, aligning themselves with a sport that is definitely on the rise.”
Performance Director Ed Barney added: “We are pleased with the outcome of the announcement and the Tokyo cycle can truly begin in earnest now.
“We made the application to fund more athletes as it gives us a greater chance of continued success and it is very pleasing that UK Sport recognised the progress we have made in the last few years and our plans for the Tokyo cycle.
“Our women’s team will naturally evolve from Rio, and I am excited about their potential for continued growth. For the men, podium success is paramount and I look forward to making significant strides in this area. We will announce our 80 central athletes in the coming weeks and it is a challenge to all of us to once again inspire the nation through sporting success.”
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