By Abigail Johnson
- UK Sport have cut all funding for British badminton prior to Tokyo 2020
- Badminton England have appealed the decision, with a verdict due in January 2017
- Ben Lane, 19, says the cuts put his dreams of an Olympic medal in jeopardy
BRISTOL, UK – Promising badminton youngster Ben Lane, 19, calls the recent UK Sport funding cuts ‘a total shock’, and says it will now be ‘almost impossible to win medals at the Olympics.’
Rising badminton star Ben Lane says the ‘shock’ funding cuts announced by UK Sport could destroy his dreams of winning an Olympic medal.
Bristol Jets’ Lane, 19, first represented England in badminton at the age of nine, and is now targeting major success. But the news that UK Sport have cut all badminton funding ahead of Tokyo 2020 has left the teenager horrified.
“We were all in training and were called to a meeting when the news was broken to us,” Lane, who is currently ranked World No 44 in mixed doubles, shared. “It was a total shock to me and everyone else at Badminton England, as we had done so well this year at the Olympics and in many other big international tournaments.”
In the aftermath of last week’s announcement, Lane was among multiple professional players to post statements on the situation via Twitter.
The teenager described the news as ‘devastating’, and pointed out: “The decision takes no account of… the fact that badminton is one of the highest participation sports in the UK, and particularly holds a strong equality record for the promotion of women’s sports and para-badminton.”
Great Britain’s badminton stars hit their medal target in this Summer’s Games when Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis won doubles bronze. It was the first time since 2004 that Britain had medalled at the Olympics.
“If our funding is taken away it will affect the whole of the structure of English badminton,” Lane explained on Tuesday. “This Summer, Marcus and Chris inspired a generation of players, ranging from those who are now on the GB Programme to kids picking up a racket for the first time.
“[But] it is almost impossible to win medals at the Olympic Games if you are not a full time athlete, [and] if the funding is taken away it will mean players will need to work [outside of the sport] to support themselves. This will make it hard to compete against players who train full time.”
Badminton England have officially appealed against UK Sport’s decision, and will discover the verdict in January 2017.
“If we are unsuccessful this will have a massive impact on me,” Lane revealed. “The funding covers all aspects of my life – allowing me to train full time in my chosen career. It covers my travel expenses, and allows me to play international tournaments and compete with the other European and far East players on the circuit.”
He added: “My dream since I started playing badminton has always been to play and win a medal at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games. If the funding is taken away it will make my dream very difficult to pursue.”
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