After a challenging few weeks following the original UK Sport decision to withdraw funding for our elite programme, I am delighted to let you know that after refocussing our strategy we have had our investment reinstated with immediate effect. This is obviously fantastic news for our sport and especially for our female lifters. It is also another huge boost on the back of the continued funding of our IPC Powerlifting programme.
Our compelling new strategy focussed on developing our most talented female athletes with a view to challenging for medals by Tokyo 2020 and gave UK Sport the confidence that we had the correct ideas and most importantly the right team in place to surpass their “no compromise” milestones.
Without question, these are really exciting times for BWL and we have a fantastic group of very talented young female lifters, spearheaded by Zoe Smith, Rebekah Tiler, Emily Godley, Sarah Davies, Mercy Brown and Faye Pittman. These athletes supported by several others have shown true potential and we believe that they can progress in line with UK Sports Investment principles which demand a top 8 place in Rio and a medal in Tokyo.
We have committed to introducing a new World Class Programme aimed at maximising competition and training opportunities and providing back-up support to help the lifters not just achieve their goals but go beyond their current expectations. The aim is to provide an enjoyable yet motivational high performance environment that enables factors underpinning progress to be continually identified and developed to ensure success.
Although this new strategy and funding focusses on our female programme, I need to emphasise that we will not be giving up on our men. We have a group of very talented male lifters who are making good progress but they need more time. We will continue to do everything we can to support their training and ensure they continue to make the right decisions and strive towards their goals. We firmly believe it is realistic for the men to progress in line with UK Sports investment principles and successful performances in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and World Championships will put us in a much stronger position at our next review in January 2015 to post a case for their funding to be re-instated.
BWL will continue to ensure our best male and female lifters are given the opportunities they deserve to represent GB at major championships and will find ways to productively work with the lifters and coaches. We need to work closely and ensure the sport can be creative to ensure that funding exists to support the costs of taking teams to camps and international competitions. We will also continue to prioritise our talent development initiatives and drive forward our highly successful integrated IPC powerlifting programme.
As the only one out of seven sports to be reinstated, I would like to thank my team – it has been a huge effort and credit must go to all of them. We may be small in number but we are an immensely passionate and dedicated team that are determined to drive BWL forward.
As always if you have any further questions please let me know – if not I look forward to seeing you all at a number of events over the next few weeks and at British Championships on May 10/11 at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Tickets are on sale now – so why not come and join us? Not only will it be the final qualifier for the Commonwealth Games, it will be a real celebration of our sport with able and dis-able bodied lifting under one roof for the first time.
Kind Regards and good luck.