Basketball star Achara hits out as sport’s support is withdrawn

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OLYMPIC star Kieron Achara has blasted UK Sport for axing British Basketball’s funding completely in the build-up to Rio 2016.

The Stirling-born forward, who led Great Britain to their only victory at the London Olympics, says the move is a devastating blow after the side’s rise up the rankings. It means it is unlikely that Britain will be able to afford to insure NBA stars Luol Deng and Joel Freeland for next summer’s EuroBasket finals, wrecking any hopes of further progress.

Achara said: “It’s definitely disappointing news after the huge steps British basketball has made. It won’t discourage us, though, and I’m sure we will bounce back and maintain our focus on developing the game in this country and competing with the best teams in the world.”

After getting £8.5 million before London 2012, the decision is an apparent vote of no confidence from UK Sport in basketball’s ability to win medals at major championships.

The governing body confirmed it will appeal and chairman Roger Moreland said: “This is a devastating decision and is a waste of that investment.

“Over the last five years, the GB teams have done the equivalent of going from League Two in football to the Premier League. It doesn’t seem much of a legacy from 2012 to dash the hopes and aspirations of a sport whose heartland is founded in Britain’s inner cities.”