New Zealand golfer Lydia Ko will receive no funding to support her campaign to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games it has been announced, after a row erupted over the use of state funds to help the teenage star.
New Zealand Golf had applied for NZD $208,000 (£106,000/$179,000/€129,000) of funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ), which is in charge of handing out Government funding to elite athletes, to support Ko's efforts to qualify for the Games.
However, both Ko and New Zealand Golf have decided she no longer needs the assistance as the 17-year-old, who is currently ranked number two on the women's world golf rankings, is in a position to fund most of her campaign herself.
"Lydia is a fantastic ambassador for New Zealand on the world stage," said chief executive of New Zealand Golf, Dean Murphy.
"She loves New Zealand and loves to represent us around the world.
"As a nation we have loved watching her excel.
"Our focus at New Zealand Golf is, and always has been, developing and supporting golfers who have the ability to compete and succeed on the world stage.
"All previous investment from New Zealand Golf and HPSNZ has been based on demonstrated need and has been completely fit for purpose."
Ko, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, but moved to Auckland when she was a toddler, is one of the biggest sports stars in New Zealand and is seen as a genuine gold medal hope when golf makes its return to the Olympic Games in Rio.
Last month, she won her first Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour event as a professional in San Francisco which earned her NZD $315,000 (£161,000/$279,000/€196,000).
It followed on from her first win as a professional in December at the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in Taiwan, for which she pocketed NZD $181,000 (£92,000,$156,000/€112,000).
Prior to turning professional in October last year, Ko won four tournaments as an amateur, with her win at the 2012 Canadian Open seeing her become the youngest ever winner of an LPGA Tour event at the age of 15.
Coupled with her earnings on the course, the youngster is reported to have signed a number of lucrative sponsorship deals.
HPSNZ says it intends to continue supporting Ko with information and knowledge to help with her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, which run from August 5 to 21.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
April 2014: New Zealand golfer Ko moves to number two in the world as Olympic funding row continues