KieronAchara and MylesHessonjumpforpossessionintheStandardLifeGBMensvictoryoverIsraelatEuroBasket2013.JPG_lowKieron Achara has issued a last-ditch plea for British Basketball to retain their Lottery funding from UK Sport, despite the failure of Great Britain’s men and women to hit their targets in 2013.

The agency is due to meet tomorrow to decide the fate of basketball, which was awarded a provisional £7 million in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics but put on notice that it would have to perform – or lose out.

However Achara, currently with Bulgarian champions Lukoil, claims the coming generation of players have a genuine medal chance come the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

“Even if I don’t get this opportunity myself I know that GB are capable of producing such a team,” said the Stirling-born forward, who captained the side at last summer’s EuroBasket. “ The basketball community is growing at a rapid speed with motivated, young talented players who hope to achieve what I have and more. Cutting the funding will only slow down this process.

“UK Sport have to see how far we have come as a basketball nation and realise that the investment they have made in basketball has been a success and they will be rewarded by producing some of the best professionals and more importantly, role models our nation will be proud of. This, in turn will lead to those valued medals everyone aspires to win.”

Last week, Sport England issued a public rebuke to England Basketball by transferring much of its funding into the hands of external providers, including the British Basketball League. While the level of Basketball Scotland’s financial support will likely hang on whether their teams are able to qualify for the 2016 Commonwealth Games.

“We talk about legacy,” Achara said. “Well legacy needs time and money. I truly believe in our team. I just need UK Sport to do the same.”

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