Britain’s leading badminton players hope a crowdfunding campaign will help support their Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid after UK Sport’s funding cut.
The sport received £5.5m in the build-up to Rio 2016, where GB’s Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge won bronze.
However, UK Sport felt GB players – who claimed four European medals last week – were not “credible” Tokyo 2020 medal prospects and cut all support.
“A little public support could make a big difference,” said Rajiv Ouseph.
UK Sport’s funding cut – announced in late 2016 – came into effect on 1 April.
The crowdfunding campaign has been launched by Badminton England – from which the majority of the British squad are drawn.
The cut resulted in half of the 24-strong England Badminton player squad leaving, while 13 staff members – including physiotherapists and doctors – lost their jobs.
“Personally, there aren’t as many players around for me to play with now and most of the support staff we’ve had in place have left, so any help would be massive,” European singles champion Ouseph told BBC Sport.
The team’s performance director Jon Austin admits delivering the news to the squad was one of the most difficult moments of his career.
“It was a decision which could potentially end people’s dreams and careers and I broke down in front of the players and staff having to do that,” he said.
“I still feel the decision [by UK Sport] was unjust, but we are trying to move forwards and the crowdfunding is designed to best support those that remain in the programme going forwards.”
Commonwealth champions Chris and Gabby Adcock – who claimed a maiden European gold medal last week – believe the British results at the event in Denmark prove the potential in the squad.
“It’s been a tough time for the team, no-one is denying that, but everyone has been really resilient and stuck together throughout,” Gabby Adcock told BBC Sport.
“Being an athlete is a rollercoaster and UK Sport is just another bump in the road so we won’t let it distract from our goals and the big things that we want to achieve.”
Chris Adcock added: “Everyone is fighting and we will find a way to succeed.”
Badminton England launch crowdfunding campaign after UK Sport funding cut – BBC Sport