LONDON – The Great Britain teams played in front of packed arenas at the London Olympics and didn’t back down from some of the best sides in the world.
A combined nine defeats in 10 games, though, did British Basketball no favors in the eyes of UK Sport.
Despite a record level of UK Sport funding of £347 million for the four-year cycle leading up to the Rio de Janeiro Games, an increase from £313 million, the body has awarded nothing to British Basketball.
Roger Moreland, the performance chairman, said in a statement released by British Basketball: “We knew the criteria that UK Sport were applying for Rio, but having been funded to the tune of £8.5million in the lead-up to the London Olympics because of the sport’s medal potential for the future, this is a devastating decision and is a waste of that investment.
“Over the last five years, the GB teams have done the equivalent of going from League Two in football to the Premier League.
“They have been competing with the very best countries in the world.
“It doesn’t seem much of a legacy from 2012 to dash the hopes and aspirations of a sport whose heartland is founded in Britain’s inner cities.”
In awarding funding, UK Sport have sized up the medal potential for sports.
Now the British teams are going to need other forms of financial backing in the build-up to next year’s continental championships.
Great Britain’s men will play at a third consecutive EuroBasket next summer in Slovenia.
In London, they almost surprised Brazil and Spain in the Preliminary Round, led Australia in the third quarter and did defeat China.
The women’s team, which is to play at a EuroBasket Women for the second time next year, suffered narrow defeats to Canada, Russia and France.
“Our colleagues in the home countries and FIBA have given huge support to the GB programs and they have dealt positively with some challenging discussions about the future structure of the sport,” Moreland said.
“Having dealt with those challenges so constructively, the decision seems scant reward for embracing change designed to realize medal potential.”
Moreland added that British Basketball will appeal the decision.