UK Sport’s funding of badminton, wheelchair rugby, archery, fencing and weightlifting ends at midnight on Friday night. Four months on from hearing they were the big losers in the funding battle we speak to athletes from those sports to discover how they are coping and their fears for the future.
‘I’m an Olympic medalist but I’m worried I won’t be able to provide for my unborn twins’.
When Chris Langridge discovered shortly after the Rio Olympics that his wife, Emma, was pregnant with twins, it seemed the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Langridge and Marcus Ellis had won bronze in the men’s doubles, Britain’s first badminton medal in 12 years, and negotiations with potential new sponsors were well underway.
Then UK Sport pulled the rug from beneath their feet, cutting all £5.7m in funding despite Langridge and Ellis’ success. Sponsors have disappeared and, with less than three months until Langridge has two more mouths to feed, he is consumed with worry about how he is going to manage.
“After Rio we found out Emma was pregnant – surprise!” he explains. “Then we found out it was twins – big surprise. Then we found out straight after we had no funding. It has been a really stressful time.
“I have been worrying about how I am going to provide for my family. I’m an Olympic medalist but my finances are bleak as I’m in such an uncertain situation.
“As soon as your sport is told that funding is being removed a lot of sponsors look at you a different way, thinking you’re a risk and maybe they won’t invest. I think ‘I’m one of the best in the world and I can’t get sponsors – this is mad’.
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