British Curling have admitted they are “very disappointed” after UK Sport opted to cut the funding of their wheelchair programme ahead of Pyeongchang 2018 but claim they understand the reasons behind the decision.
UK Sport, the nation’s high performance sports agency, announced they had removed the investment in British wheelchair curling after the team “were unable to demonstrate credible medal potential through the annual review process”.
It followed a disappointing season for the British side in 2015, where they failed to earn promotion to the top worldwide tier of wheelchair curling following relegation earlier in the year.
As a result, UK Sport has slashed the funding of the team with less than two years to go until the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games, despite them having clinched a bronze medal at Sochi 2014.
The news represents a blow to wheelchair curling and comes despite UK Sport pledging to increase the levels of participation in Paralympic sport across the country.
In a statement, British Curling vowed to improve their wheelchair curling programme in order to seize back the vital funding needed to develop the sport but admitted their performances in the recent cycle hadn’t been good enough.
“While we are consequently very disappointed on behalf of our wheelchair curlers we believe the rationale behind the UK Sport decision is a reminder that common standards apply to all those seeking such investment which means that any who fail to meet their competitive targets will inevitably pay a price, just as those who are successful will be rewarded,” British Curling said.
“The central message from UK Sport is clearly that we must continue to strive to reach our targets and the British Curling team is dedicated to ensuring that happens.”
The announcement was made following a review of all winter sport, both Olympic and Paralympic, in Britain by the high performance organisation.
Para ski and snowboard have been given increased funding by UK Sport, along with bobsleigh, curling, figure skating and short track speed skating.
The amount of money invested in skeleton and ski and snowboard remains unchanged, UK Sport said.
They also confirmed a total of £31 million ($42 million/€38 million) had been given to winter sport in the Pyeongchang 2018 investment cycle.