London, UK (BBN) – UK Sport’s decision to remove its funding from badminton could end the careers of Olympic medallists, says Badminton England’s chief executive.
Adrian Christy, who said the national governing body would appeal, said the “catastrophic” change risks “closing down the British badminton programme”.
UK Sport has also stopped funding archery, fencing, wheelchair rugby and weightlifting for the Tokyo 2020 cycle, reports BBC.
British Weightlifting said it would also appeal against the decision.
UK Sport CEO Liz Nicholl said decisions on the amount of money each sport received were made “to protect and enhance the medal potential”.
Of the four Olympic sports and one Paralympic sport to lose all funding, only badminton – which received £5.74m in the last cycle – delivered a medal during the summer.
Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge won bronze in the men’s doubles, ensuring badminton met its UK Sport target of one medal.
Christy told BBC Sport: “Those two athletes on the basis of this decision could have their careers ended from 1 April next year. What kind of example does that set?
“To not have the opportunity to improve on Rio and have it all taken off us is going to take several weeks to understand.
“The decision presents a catastrophic impact on the sport. We have to appeal. We’re now going to have youngsters seriously thinking ‘what would I go into a sport like badminton for if I can’t achieve my Olympic dreams?'”
GB Weightlifting was “shocked and devastated” at the decision to strip it of £1.7m, while Archery GB said the removal of its funding was “in line with our expectations”.
It has spread £345m across 31 Olympic and Paralympic sports for Tokyo 2020, a fall of £2m from Rio 2016.
Great Britain won 67 Olympic medals in Rio, and 147 at the Paralympics.
UK Sport has set targets of 51-85 Olympic medals and 115-162 Paralympic medals for Tokyo.