altBRITISH HOCKEY, which produced one of the most inspirational Olympic stories of recent Games when, led by Sean Kerly (pictured), they won the gold medals at Seoul in 1988, have warned that preparations for London 2012 risk being compromised by the financial crisis.


Hockey is one of a number of sports that faces an anxious wait to discover whether their funding for London will be cut as a result of the Government having been unable to raise £79 million in private funding that was pledged more than two years ago as part of a £300 million package to boost the home nation's performance at the 2012 Games.


The current economic situation has made raising that money difficult and UK Sport, the Government agency who distribute National Lottery funding, have warned that some of the 24 sports they are due to bankroll for London 2012 could suffer cutbacks.


Philip Kimberley, the chief executive of Great Britain Hockey, has today written to the Culture Secretary Andy Burnham outlining what the consequences of that could mean to his sport.


He said: "We are lobbying hard within the system.


"We are making the point that the extra we need for the next four years is small beer in comparison with the £9.3 billion being spent on the Olympic Park.


"We have told Mr Burnham that without the money we will not be competitive."


Hockey is one of the sports where, with proper preparation, Britain could make an impact.


Helped by £8.5 million worth of public funding, the men's team finished fifth at the Beijing Olympics earlier this year, while the women were sixth.


Britain has a mixed record in the Olympic hockey tournament.


A team representing England won the event when London hosted the Games for the first time in 1908, ahead of Ireland and Scotland.


Britain won the gold medal the next team the sport was held in the Games at Antwerp in 1920.


They won took the silver at the 1948 London Olympics and the bronze at Helsinki four years later.


But there was a long barren spell before Britain unexpectedly took the bronze medals at Los Angeles in 1984 before Seoul in 1988 when, again against the odds, the men beat Germany 3-1 in a thrilling final to clinch the Olympic title.


Inspired by Kerly, who was dubbed the "Gary Lineker of hockey", the sport briefly enjoyed a massive boom in Britain and there was much excitement about how it might even rival football.


But the momentum was not maintained and the sport has enjoyed a difficult period in recent years.


Women's hockey has only been part of the Olympic programme since Moscow in 1980 and Britain's best performance was winning the bronze medals at Barcelona in 1992.