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The government’s Aspiration Fund is set to give non-Olympic sports a leg up, says Martin Fullard

 

Sport in the UK is set for a welcome boost. Olympic and Paralympic sports outside the World Class Programme will be able to bid for additional investment to help more talented athletes compete at Tokyo 2020, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch announced in December.

The £3m Aspiration Fund will allow sports which do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes qualify.

Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, the new sports for the Tokyo Games and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.

Alongside their qualification plan, sports seeking funding will be asked to submit details of how they will capitalise on the impact of competing at the Games and engage and inspire communities.

The plans will also need to align with the outcomes set out in the Government’s Sporting Future strategy to redefine what success looks like in sport: physical well-being, mental well-being, individual development, social and community development and economic development.

Tracey Crouch, minister for sport and Civil Society, said: “The Aspiration Fund will give more sports the chance to inspire the nation and shine at Tokyo 2020 and beyond. This £3m bridges a gap between grassroots and elite funding and will help sports grow and develop future champions.”

“UK Sport investment has transformed Britain into an Olympic and Paralympic powerhouse. But there are sports, not on UK Sport’s world class programme, that do a huge amount of good in communities that we can help on their path to the podium.”

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport added: “This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for some sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games.

“Many of the sports we are currently unable to support, while further away from reaching the podium, have great potential not only to inspire through their performances on the field of play but also to have a genuine social impact in communities across the UK.

“We’d like to thank the Government for their continued support for UK Sport’s mission to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.”

Grants from the Aspiration Fund will be capped at £500k for team sports and £275k for individual sports. Grants from the Aspiration Fund will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

What a great time to make their events shine.