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Volume 556: debated on Thursday 10 January 2013

UK Sport is investing record levels into Olympic and Paralympic sport for the 2016 games. This includes more than £5 million for the wheelchair basketball team. Sadly, the elite Olympic basketball team did not meet the UK Sport investment criteria for this cycle. England Basketball has, however, received £6.75 million from Sport England, including £1.5 million of talent development funding.

I am sure the Minister is aware, first, that Team GB came within two points of beating Spain, who went on to win the silver medal, and actually beat China, who are top-10 seeded in the world, and secondly that it took hockey more than 20 years of elite-level funding before it received a bronze medal at this year’s Olympics. In the light of that and of my letter to him on 20 December, will he agree to meet me and other members of the all-party group on basketball to discuss this important matter?

I would make two points on that. First, hockey is a good example of what basketball needs to do. It had great success in 1988, with its gold medal, but then went bust and had its funding cut completely for lack of performance. It built itself back up, however, and got itself to the stage where it was medalling again, as it did in London. Secondly, I am aware that basketball has made an appeal to UK Sport. Once we know the result of that, I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady.

UK Sport funding is handed out in a four-year Olympic cycle. Does the Minister believe that that is the right way forward, or does he think there needs to be change?

I am sorry to say it to my hon. Friend, but that is not actually correct. The funding for the Rio cycle includes considerable funding for developing athletes that will take them through to the 2020 games.