By Paul Osborne

Goalball UK say they are "surprised and disappointed" over UK Sports decision to reject their funding appeal ©Goalball UKMarch 20 - Goalball UK has claimed it is "surprised and disappointed" at UK Sports decision to reject their appeal to stop funding the GB women's team as the elite funding body's announcement continues to sink in across the country.

Six Olympic and Paralympic sports - goalball, basketball, synchronised swimming, wheelchair fencing, water polo and visually impaired football - were met with yet more disappointment on yesterday following UK Sports' decision to uphold the withdrawal of funds from each sport in the build-up to Rio 2016.

In a statement by Goalball UK, the sport's governing body claimed the decision was "particularly harsh" explaining that "the decision means that neither the women's or men's team will represent GB at the Rio Paralympics and highly unlikely that we will be represented at Tokyo in 2020."

Goalball UK chief executive Mike Reilly had previously questioned UK Sports decision following the initial announcement last month, claiming "our women just missed out on a medal in London 2012 and were the second most successful competing GB women team sport across both GB Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.

"It hence seems questionable to pull funding now when we have a critical European tournament in September this year where we could compete successfully and maintain a pathway to Rio."

Georgie Bullen (left) has said that UK Sports decision is "too soon" following major changes to the set up of the GB goalball team ©Getty imagesGeorgie Bullen (left) has said that UK Sports decision is "too soon" following major changes to the set up of the GB goalball team ©Getty images

GB player Georgie Bullen, a star during London 2012, has backed up these claims by Reilly, believing the decision was made "too soon" following a transition in the Goalball UK set up.

"The decision to remove funding was taken too soon as the squad was developing rapidly with new coaching staff and training routines," she said.

"We were building something fresh that would last into the future and it takes time before you see the benefit.

"Unfortunately, we got a bad result at the European tournament and off the back of that UK Sport decided we weren't far enough along our development.

"It is very frustrating because we are all fitter and stronger, training more and the performance analysis showed that we had improved.

"We lost our last two games just 2-1 at the Europeans but had we won one of those we would be in the World Championships - the margins are so small and it is an absolute heart-breaker."

GB's women's goalball team missed out on a chance of a medal at London 2012 after losing to a "golden goal" in their quarter final clash with Sweden, eventual bronze medallists at the Games.

The organisation was hoping for funds to help them in the build up to a key European tournament in October that could prove crucial in their attempt to qualify for Rio 2016.

However following yesterday's announcement, the Goalball UK statement added: "The UK Sport decision will have a profound and long term detrimental impact on Goalball in the UK."

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