British Basketball has missed out on a new pot of cash from UK Sport aimed at sports left off the main Lottery-financed list.

It will not be among the 14 Olympic and Paralympic disciplines which will receive a sizeable injection from the £3 million Aspiration Fund, established to target sports which missed out on the large-scale investment round ahead of Tokyo 2020.

It is understood Great Britain’s women, who could yet earn a place at the 2020 Olympics through next June’s EuroBasket finals, will be eligible to receive a share of a £118,496 pot earmarked for attending “qualification events.”

However it is not the boost which the embattled BBF wanted or needed. “It is fundamentally zero as we will not have time to plan,” one senior figure in the sport told MVP.

Sources say British Basketball has yet to be granted the full amount of an emergency £500,000 bailout provided last May to safeguard the immediate future of the international programme.

£195,000 was distributed at the time but the remainder was contingent upon the end of in-fighting between the British federation and the three home countries, a battle which eventually resulted in a hostile takeover of the former by the latter, a power play regarded with unease in the corridors of power.

Although GB women’s still-live bid to reach Tokyo 2020 offered an attractive case, that internal wrangling effectively proved a factor in killing off British Basketball’s hopes of a slice of the newly-created pie.

Table tennis, wheelchair rugby and badminton are the big winners from the additional monies following a decision process which will be formally unveiled on Friday morning by UK Sport.

Also benefiting from the additional largesse are the new Olympic sports of climbing, karate, surfing, skateboarding and softball while archery, beach volleyball, fencing, artistic swimming, weightlifting and goalball regain some UK Sport backing after being tasked with justifying the potential impact from competing in Tokyo and their legacy plans.

“This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for these athletes and sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games,” UK Sport’s chief executive Liz Nicholl said.

“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.”

Grants from the Aspiration Fund are capped at £500,000 for team sports and £275,000 for individual sports and will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

UK Sports Minister Mims Davies added: “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.”

(Photo: Mansoor Ahmed)

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