LONDON: A total of 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports including skateoarding, surfing and wheelchair rugby have received investment from the UK’s new £3m aspiration fund to help support their ambitions to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The Aspiration Fund, which was announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in October this year, aims to support sports who do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes realise ambitions for the Tokyo Games

Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, new sports for Tokyo 2020 and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.

Following a UK Sport Board meeting earlier this week it was decided that skateboarding, surfing and softball, which are all new additions to the Olympic programme for Tokyo, would receive investment from the fund marking the first time they have ever received UK Sport funding.

Climbing and karate, the other new sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, currently receive UK Sport individual athlete medal support plan funding but are both backed with additional investment from the fund.

Funding will also go to the Olympic sports of badminton, archery, beach volleyball, fencing, artistic swimming and table tennis.

There is a huge boost for Paralympic sports as wheelchair rugby receive £500,000 which is the maximum investment from the Fund for a team sport. In addition, the Paralympic sport of goalball will receive investment.

A further £118,496 will be held by UK Sport to consider investments for sports to attend qualification events where appropriate e.g. women’s basketball.

The move comes after UK Sport and the DCMS announced a unique funding support package of £500,000 for British Basketball in May this year which is currently being given to the sport in instalments.

Alongside their qualification plan, sports seeking funding were asked to submit details of how they will capitalise on the impact of competing at the Games and engage and inspire future generations.

Grants from the Aspiration Fund are capped at £500k for team sports and £275k for individual sports while they will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: “This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for these athletes and sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games.

“Many of the sports we are currently unable to support, whilst further away from reaching the podium, have the potential not only to inspire through their performances on the field of play but also to inspire new audiences to engage in sport and activity.

“We’d like to thank the Government for their continued support for UK Sport’s mission to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.”

Sports Minister Mims Davies said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Games is the pinnacle for athletes across the world.

“This £3 million fund will give more athletes in more sports the chance to compete at the very top in Tokyo.

“It will help Great Britain and Northern Ireland continue to be a leading Olympic and Paralympic nation and am sure the athletes that will benefit will inspire the nation and help their sports grow.”


Note to editors

The following table includes the breakdown of investments less the costs of running the programme.

Sport Award Amount (£)




Beach Volleyball
















Artistic Swimming


Table Tennis




Wheelchair Rugby


Unallocated Funds



For further information on UK Sport, contact Tom Degun at or 0207 211 5120.

UK Sport

UK Sport is the nation’s high-performance sports agency. Its vision is to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success. Primarily this means working with our partner sporting organisations to deliver medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. UK Sport’s strategic direction helped British sports and athletes make history at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games by winning more medals post hosting in London 2012, with 67 Olympic and 147 Paralympic medals won. UK Sport has responsibility for activities best delivered at a UK level including: bidding for and staging major sporting events in this country; increasing sporting activity and influence overseas; and promoting sporting conduct, ethics and diversity in society. UK Sport is funded by a mix of Government Exchequer and Lottery income. More @