£35m for Scots athletes to go for Rio Olympic gold

A £35 million training fund is to go to 122 Scottish athletes to help them in their bid for gold in the Rio Olympics next year.

Hurdler Eilidh Child is among the Scottish athletes who will benefit from the £35m training fund. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Hurdler Eilidh Child is among the Scottish athletes who will benefit from the £35m training fund. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The new funding from the UK government and the National Lottery is part of an ambitious attempt by British athletes to win more medals at the Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil than they did at the London Olympics in 2012.

The cash will go to sports stars including gymnasts Daniel Keatings and Daniel Purvis, swimmers Ross Murdoch and Hannah Miley, rower Katherine Grainger, hurdler Eilidh Child, canoeist David Florence and cyclist Katie Archibald.

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The money – worth almost £300,000 per athlete – is aimed at providing support for competitors so they can focus full-time on training and competing, as well as paying for coaching and the national bodies and organisations which back them up individually.

The announcement has come with one year to go before the start of the Rio Games.

Olympian and Scotland Commonwealth Games gold medallist Purvis said that his Rio preparations were currently focused on the forthcoming World Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow in October.

He said: “To be back competing in Glasgow will be amazing. Last year’s Commonwealth Games competing for Team Scotland and winning two medals was unbelievable and the home crowd can definitely make a big difference to us again at the Worlds.”

The UK government and the National Lottery, through UK Sport, funded 10 out of 16 of Scotland’s Commonwealth Games gold medallists in Glasgow last year.

During the independence referendum Better Together and the pro-UK parties pointed out how being part of the UK has helped to underpin Scottish sporting success. The UK’s aim at the Rio Games 
is to beat the country’s modern-day record haul of 65 Olympic medals and 120 Paralympic medals set in London 2012.

Ministers have agreed record funding for athletes to achieve the goal, with Scotland’s 122 sports men and women making up more than one tenth of the UK elite squad.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said: “The Rio Games are now on the horizon and the government and the National Lottery are backing our elite athletes with record investment to help them succeed in Brazil. Elite sport in Britain continues to thrive and I know the whole country will be right behind Team GB and Paralympics GB in Rio.”

UK Sport chief executive Liz Nichol said: “Thanks to the unprecedented investment from our government and the National Lottery for the Rio cycle, the elite sport legacy of London 2012 is in very good shape.

“It has allowed us to continue to aspire to make the nation proud through our athletes’ performances, while building a stronger, more sustainable high performance system for future generations.”