SITTING volleyball player Martine Wright is refusing to give up on building a solid legacy after London 2012, despite UK Sport’s decision to cut all funding to the Paralympic sport.
Basketball, handball, volleyball and sitting volleyball were all told on Tuesday that the varying amounts which had underpinned their journeys to last summer’s games were to be taken away ahead of Rio 2016.
Wright, a survivor of the 7/7 bombings, hopes private investors could be the answer to ensure sitting volleyball will not disappear in this country following the home games.
She said: “The exposure of sitting volleyball, especially after the summer, has been huge, and we’ve got so many people interested in it.
“I think we’ve got to go out and find our own funding. I’m sure there are a lot of private investors out there who would love to invest in us. The advantage of sitting volleyball is that we don’t need a lot of equipment. We need a net, we need a ball, our bottoms and lots of enthusiasm so we’ve got to look at things positively.”
The Paralympian, who won the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday, believes that her sport has a real chance to develop further and gain success in Rio. “Yes, the funding has been cut, but we have worked so hard in the last two-and-a-half years that this is not the last you have seen of sitting volleyball,” Wright added.
“It might seem that some of these sports, including sitting volleyball, have just been created for the Paralympics in London but this is all our lives. This is my dream.”
UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl is confident team sports can still build on their work at the London games, even though they are facing funding cuts.
UK Sport’s no-compromise approach in rewarding the sports they feel will provide medals in Brazil has seen administrators and players voicing their disappointment since the announcement was made.
“We are not responsible for sports as a whole. Handball, basketball. . . they have the chance to increase and develop their sports in the UK,” said Nicholl.