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Funding cuts the only route open to UK Sport

You didn't need a crystal ball to see it coming but, even so, Tuesday's funding announcement by UK Sport for the 2013-17 cycle delivered a bitter blow to, among other sports, badminton.

The sport had its funding cut from £7.43m in the London Olympiad, to £5.9m for the Rio Olympiad, a whopping 20.6% decrease.

UK Sport's mantra was an unequivocal "no compromise", which outlines its commitment to channeling resources towards athletes and sports with the greatest chance of succeeding on the world stage. UK Sport is not interested in funding a sport simply to help them increase their participation levels, or make life more comfortable for mediocre athletes. They are interested in one thing and one thing only: medals.

Badminton, my own sport, typifies the situation. It was always going to be in a precarious position in the aftermath of the London Games. The target set by UK Sport was 0-1 medals and the result was no medals. The bare facts are that, of the four players qualified – a mixed doubles pair, a men's singles player and myself in women's singles – none progressed beyond the group stages.

Badminton endured a turbulent few years in the lead-up to this summer's Olympic Games. In comparison to the halcyon days of a decade or so ago – British players returned from the 2000 and the 2004 Olympics with medals – there has been a noticeable lack of world- class performers in the sport recently. Imogen Bankier and Chris Adcock showed a glimmer of light by winning silver medals at the World Championships in 2011, which reignited hopes that a medal in London was a possibility. It did not materialise and, in an Olympic Games in which so many sports overperformed, the fact that badminton underachieved did not go unnoticed.

This cut in funding was, frankly, the only route UK Sport could go down. In London, most sports met their designated medal target, with several sports actually exceeding it. Cycling, rowing, equestrianism and gymnastics have all been rewarded in the funding allocation for surpassing the number of medals that was expected. Boxing is the biggest winner, with the sport receiving a 44% increase in funding over the next four years in recognition of its most successful Olympic Games since 1920.

Badminton is one of only five sports to suffer a cut in funding. Swimming is another which, as expected, has suffered a decrease: cut by 17% as a result of the swimmers delivering only a silver and two bronze medals in London. It was a poor return for the £25.1m investment over the last four years. It could be worse, though. Basketball, handball, table tennis and wrestling must cope with UK Sport's decision to stop their funding completely.

The funding dilemma is a tricky one. UK Sport operates on the understanding that each sport should be accountable. UK Sport's funds are made up of public money and, as a result, they view it as vital that they receive a return on their investment in the form of medals.

There is, of course, the counter argument: how can you expect a sport to grow and thrive without sufficient investment? The harsh reality for those sports which have had their funding stopped is that this may be the end of any progress which was made in the run-up to London. It certainly calls into question the promise of the Olympic Games leaving a legacy.

While this is a blow for badminton, it is not fatal and it can be salvaged. The sport must be well managed over the next four years and prove to UK Sport that it is progressing. A medal in Rio is, if not completely unrealistic, then certainly optimistic but in this current "no compromise" climate, it appears to be the only way to ensure long-term survival.

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