KATE Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, has written to the Minister for Sports and the Chair of UK Sport to demand that UK Sport reconsiders its decision to cut funding to women’s water polo.
Ms Green was contacted by Stretford resident, Richard Clapperton, whose thirteen- year-old twin daughters Annie and Maisy are new members of the U15 GBR Women’s Water Polo team.
Annie and Maisy, who train at Stretford Water Polo Club, were accepted onto the Great Britain team last month. Their aim is to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of the senior team, which is currently based at Manchester Aquatics Centre.
They are very worried that UK Sport’s funding cuts will prevent them achieving their Olympic goal.
UK Sport awarded GBR Women’s Water Polo £4.5m after the 2012 Olympics, the biggest percentage increase in funding of all Olympic sports. However, last month the agency announced that they were to cut this funding as a result of its annual investment review of summer Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Water Polo’s national governing body, British Swimming is formally appealing UK Sport’s decision.
Ms Green said, “UK Sport clearly acknowledged water polo’s potential and the need for targeted investment in women’s sports when they increased the funding for Water Polo after 2012.
“It‘s shocking that they have now taken this funding away, threatening the dreams of potential Olympic performers like Annie and Maisy Clapperton.
“The decision to withdraw this funding will devastate the sport in Britain at both elite and grassroots level and therefore I have written to the Chair of UK Sport to ask them to think again.”
Richard Clapperton, who is also a water polo coach and volunteer in his spare time, said, “My daughters were inspired by the 2012 Olympics to believe that one day they could compete for their country in a sport they loved.
“The funding cuts to Water Polo have put their dreams in serious jeopardy and seem to be the exact opposite of the ‘Olympic Legacy’ which the government speaks of.
“Without funding, it’s a very real possibility that Water Polo as a competitive sport will not continue within this country which would be an absolute travesty.”