Monday, August 27, 2007

Tax Funded Monkeys

Pre-lottery success
While we were away, winning former Olympian John Regis slammed lottery funding for British athletes:

"If you spray peanuts around you get monkeys, and at the moment we have a load of peanuts going out, so we have a load of monkeys running around.

"I am thinking, 'If this is how you think the sport is going to go forward, you guys at the top do not have the foggiest idea of what it took to get there in the beginning'."

"Of the guys on the lottery, some of them are European class, some are UK class but very few are world class. There should be no more than 10 athletes on lottery funding in the whole of Britain."

Regis is by no means the first former Olympian to slam the new welfare dependency in British althletics: regular BOM readers will recall five times gold medallist Michael Johnson saying the same thing last year (see this blog):

"They (British sprinters) have lost the hunger and it is the system which causes them to lose the hunger. The system rewards mediocrity. It rewards Great Britain's best, not the world's best. These athletes have it before they have done anything at all. They have celebrity and sponsorship and things we work hard for in the US."

At present the quango UK Athletics pays welfare at three levels. The top- the "World Class Podium"- pays up to £24,000 pa income support, plus various expenses. And overall, eyeballing the lists on the website, total dependents number well over 200.

The results (just one bronze medal in Osaka) speak for themselves.

Things are now so desperate, "Britain’s sports coaches have been scouring the world for an athletes’ “foreign legion” in an attempt to boost the country’s medal-winning hopes for the 2012 Olympics... Britain’s sports associations are signing up competitors from overseas who may also be eligible for British citizenship. Targets so far include a basketball player for the Chicago Bulls, a Jamaican high jumper and an Afghan wrestler."

Whatever happened to that brilliant masterplan produced by UKSport to achieve fourth medal place in the 2012 medal table by "investing" £110,457,000 pa every year for seven years? You remember- they reckoned they'd developed "a sophisticated investment model to determine the level of additional funding is logical, measurable, and scalable." (see this blog).

Monkeys led by nincompoops.

I'm not hopeful.

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