Boost for Yorkshire boxers on road to Rio

The Sheffield-based British boxing squad was the big winner yesterday as UK Sport announced the funding programme for the next four-year Olympic cycle to Rio.

Olympic champions Luke Campbell, of Hull, and Nicola Adams, of Leeds, were two of five medal winners at London 2012, a haul which has been rewarded with a 44 per cent increase in funding to £13.6m.

There was further good news for athletics, cycling, rowing and gymnastics in the record pot of £347m, although the cash comes with a caveat that Team GB beats the medal haul it achieved as host nation in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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UK Sport want 66 medals in the 2016 Olympics and 121 in the Paralympics.

The big losers were swimming and volleyball, while backing for basketball and handball was cut altogether.

British Swimming boss David Sparkes said: “We had a disappointing Olympics in swimming and we now need to focus our energies on driving the cultural change needed moving forward and this will be built around a no compromise approach underpinned by performance management and strong, effective leadership.”

Volleyball staff and players, who are based alongside the boxers at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport, reacted angrily to the cut, particularly the women’s team who exceeded expectations by earning a group victory.

The importance of funding was emphasised by Halifax’s double Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft who said: “UK Sport provided us all with brand new chairs, helmets and special Lycra kit to make you go faster.

“The money that pays for the technology and everything else is the difference between gold and nowhere.”