In a bid to shore up Great Britain’s medal prospects for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, the UK Sport development organization has ended all Olympic funding for the country’s basketball program.
On a home court for the 2012 London Olympics, the British men’s team finished ninth, while the women’s side finished 11th.
“British Basketball is desperately disappointed for the players, coaches, staff and basketball community in this country,” the program said in a statement.
“One of the factors in restoring funding last year was on the basis of our medal potential for Tokyo 2020 and we still believe all the indicators for our senior and age group teams show the strength of the program is building towards that aim.”
In the same statement, performance chairman Roger Moreland said that basketball fans in the UK and around the world would be “aghast” at the decision and insisted that while the team remains “on the road to Rio,” they’ll now have to qualify for the 2015 Eurobasket Championships “with our hands tied behind our back.”
British Basketball had been previously stripped of its funding in late 2012 after the London Olympics, but managed to have that decision overturned last February. Now, they’ll have to deal with the issue once again.
“While there is a clear understanding now that our investment is based on merit and must be aligned behind our best medal prospects, it doesn’t make the decisions any easier and I recognize it is a difficult time for the sports and athletes who have been withdrawn from funding,” UK Sport chief executive Liz Carroll said in her own statement.
“To continue funding sports where the evidence is telling us they cannot win a medal by 2020 would be a high risk strategy that compromises opportunities elsewhere.”