Notts short track speed skater Elise Christie ‘gutted’ funding will be completely cut by UK Sport

Elise Christie

Nottinghamshire’s short track speed skater Elise Christie has said she is ‘gutted’ funding for her sport will be cut.

UK Sport confirmed funding into the GB Short Track Speed Skating World Class Programme will be cut in the Beijing 2022 Olympic cycle.

Transitional support will be given to the programme for the next nine-to-12 months by UK Sport working towards the 2019 ISU World Championships.

2017 world champion Elise Christie will be offered a new Medal Support Plan investment because of her success at the highest level of the sport.

Speaking about the cuts, Elise said: “I am gutted for our sport; we have a fantastic team and great successes particularly in the past two years.

“I am thankful for the support UK Sport and the National Lottery has given me and that they still recognise my medal potential.

“We’ll be working on a plan moving forward in the coming weeks but I don’t know exactly how that will look right now.”

National performance director for GB Short Track Speed Skating Stewart Laing said: “We understand UK Sport have had to make a tough decision and that there is less government and National Lottery funding available across British sport of which we have been thankful to receive over the years.

“We are very disappointed by the decision and will be focusing on supporting our athletes, staff and their families before convening to discuss our next steps for supporting our World Class Programme and developing an individual plan for Elise Christie.

“We have had historic success and we will work closely with the National Ice Skating Association on how we maintain the support for the sport moving forward.”

In 2017 GB Short Track Speed Skating launched its academy, with an initial group of twelve skaters following its own talent ID search, to develop and transition 15-17 year old athletes in preparation for the World Class Programme.

Following the 2018 Olympic Games, more than 500 young people signed up for talent ID opportunities.

Jon Eley, GB Short Track Academy Manager and Olympian, said: “I really feel for the young kids of the sport who have ambitions to reach Olympic level.

“It’s been a privilege to lead the GB Short Track Academy with the support of the clubs across the UK and see a real growth in the talent in the sport.

“Sadly, without the programmes they won’t have the same pathway opportunities to fulfil their potential.

“There is a lot of good work happening at club level with so many volunteers giving up time for the young athletes and I believe that this will continue.

“On a personal note, I feel very honoured to have had the opportunity to live out my dreams thanks to UK Sport and the World Class Programme.

“It’s a sad day for the sport to know that this support will no longer be there for the current crop of young short track speed skaters.”

Michelle Draper, CEO of the National Ice Skating Association, said: “We are naturally disappointed with the decision.

“However as the National Governing Body we will continue to support and build on the amazing progress made by our athletes in this fast, exciting and growing sport.”

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