While UK Sport plans cuts to funding for young badminton players, SportScotland has committed to providing the ongoing care and support talented young people need.
Following on from Hamilton-born Kirsty Gilmour’s Commonwealth Games and European silver medal, and her Olympic appearance in Rio last summer, Christina McKelvie MSP has picked up on the funding issues in a portfolio question to the Scottish Government.
“I put up a question to Aileen Campbell MSP, the Minister for Public Health and Sport to clarify the Scottish Government’s position. I’m glad to say that she reports that since Kirsty’s success at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games, there has been an increase of more than two per cent in school participation sessions. There were more than 292,000 sessions during 2015-16.
“Like Kirsty and myself, the Minister was unimpressed by the choices being made by UK Sport but she also pointed out that SportScotland is investing 50m between 2015-19 in its Active Schools programme.
“If we are to encourage our young people to participate in sports, including badminton, then I believe the way forward is to provide opportunities to test out different sports. That is what the Active Schools programme is doing.
“I know Kirsty feels let down by the proposed UK Sport decision to end all badminton backing ahead of the 2020 Olympics. I also know that she hugely appreciates the fact that her own funding is coming from Badminton Scotland.
“Unlike some of her friends and colleagues down south, at least Kirsty does have access to funding from the Scottish Government.”
Commenting after the portfolio question, Kirsty Gilmour added:
“I was happy to hear that our concerns over UK Sport’s decision to cut funding to badminton was heard in the Scottish Parliament.
“Whilst I am fortunate to have continued support from SportScotland, my colleagues aren’t so fortunate.
“It’s the next generation who will feel the pinch – those “talent badge” 16 – 18 year olds who we have already identified has having massive potential. They are the ones who will face an uncertain future.
“Everything starts at primary school. When I talk to these pupils, I used to be able to say that their dreams were achievable. Sadly, with these UK Sport cuts to funding, I can’t truly say the same.”