LONDON: The UK Sport Board has been confirmed that seven sports will receive an uplift in funding to help support their plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The sports of basketball, sitting volleyball, baseball and wrestling are set to benefit from the Aspiration Fund while Fencing, Wheelchair Fencing and Boccia will receive additional investment as part of the annual review process.

The £3 million Aspiration Fund was launched last month and saw 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports receive investment to help support their ambitions for Tokyo 2020.

The additional Aspiration Fund resources received from Government were to enable UK Sport to consider investments for more sports and athletes to attend qualification events to progress towards Tokyo 2020 ambitions.

It has now been confirmed that UK Sport will allocate a further £75,000 for Basketball, £11,000 for Sitting Volleyball, £30,500 for Baseball and up to £41,600* for Wrestling.

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport said: “We are delighted that we are able to reach more sports and athletes through our Aspiration Fund investments as we have looked to make the £3 million from Government stretch as far as possible.

“We are pleased to confirm our Aspiration Fund investment will now reach a total of 18 sports with the addition of Basketball, Sitting Volleyball, Baseball and Wrestling.

“In addition to this, an increase in investment into the sports of Fencing, Wheelchair Fencing and Boccia will help support their medal potential for Tokyo 2020.”

British Basketball Chair Maurice Watkins CBE said: “I want to express my thanks to UK Sport for their latest show of support.

“This news is another step forward for basketball and whilst we were disappointed to miss out during the initial allocation from the Aspiration Fund, we are pleased to have now been awarded additional financial assistance as our teams gear up for an exciting 2019.”

British Volleyball Federation (BVF) President Richard Callicott said: “The Aspiration Fund that has been created by UK Sport is a potential lifeline for the team who have been training under difficult circumstances and the BVF is grateful to UK Sport for making this contribution available.

“The team has been finding it very difficult to train and compete internationally, with players having to find all the costs themselves.

“This gives the players a considerable boost to their morale in their quest to reach Tokyo 2020.”

Following the Annual Review process, the UK Sport Board also confirmed that fencing will receive a Medal Support Plan of up to £87,000 for Olympic foil fencer Richard Kruse.

The 35-year-old became Britain’s first-ever world number one in the sport after claiming gold at the Tokyo World Cup in Japan last month.

British Fencing CEO Georgina Usher said: “British Fencing is delighted with these awards from UK Sport.

“Our priorities will be to work with Richard to support his Tokyo medal ambitions and also, through the Aspiration Fund, support our other elite athletes as they seek to inspire communities through their Tokyo qualification journeys.”

Wheelchair Fencing will also receive a funding boost of £12,572 for training and competition costs of an additional two male fencers while Boccia will receive up to £53,280 to assist training and competition.

**British Wrestling will be awarded an initial £21,600 for 2019 to realise the potential detailed within their application. The remaining £20,000 will be withheld pending a review at the end of the 2019 season to determine progress made towards qualification.

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