Climbing listed to receive backing by Aspiration Fund for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Posted by Peter Burnside on 07/12/2018
Molly Thompson-Smith won the bronze medal in the lead-climbing world cup in Kranj last year. Photo Eddie Fowke - IFSC

The new Olympic sport of climbing will receive £192,500 investment from the Aspiration Fund along with 14 other sports.

A total of 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports including climbing, skateboarding, surfing and wheelchair rugby have received investment from the new £3 million Aspiration Fund to help support their ambitions to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

The Aspiration Fund, which was announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in October this year, aims to support sports who do not currently receive full UK Sport funding to develop plans to help teams and athletes realise ambitions for the Tokyo 

Sports eligible to apply for the fund include all the unfunded summer Olympic and Paralympic sports, new sports for Tokyo 2020, and those currently in receipt of individual athlete medal support plan funding from UK Sport.

Following a UK Sport Board meeting earlier this week it was decided that skateboarding, surfing and softball, which are all new additions to the Olympic programme for Tokyo, would receive investment from the fund marking the first time they have ever received UK Sport funding.

Climbing and karate, the other new sports for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, currently receive UK Sport individual athlete medal support plan funding but are both backed with additional investment from the fund.

Funding will also go to the Olympic sports of badminton, archery, beach volleyball, fencing, artistic swimming and table tennis.

There is a huge boost for Paralympic sports as wheelchair rugby receive £500,000 which is the maximum investment from the Fund for a team sport. In addition, the Paralympic sport of goalball will receive investment.

Grants from the Aspiration Fund are capped at £500k for team sports and £275k for individual sports while they will run to the end of the Tokyo 2020 cycle.

Zoe Spriggins, BMC Competitions Programme Manager, said: “We’re very excited about this announcement. It's a great opportunity to improve the chances of our GB Climbing Team athletes making it through the selection process to represent us at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. 

“The funding will help us support our athletes with the training, coaching, and dedication, required for winning on the world stage. If we're up against the best we need to be fully prepared.”

Jamie Smith, Mountaineering Scotland Team Leader, said: “Fantastic new that this funding is available to support GB climbers and hopefully inspiring the next generation of young athletes.”

Kevin Howett, ClimbScotland Sport Development Officer, said:“William Bosi shows some of the best potential for the three disciplines of Sport Climbing in the Olympics, and it has been his ambition to climb at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games since hearing it will be included.

“We have been supporting William for the last five years and seen him go from strength to strength. This investment from the Aspiration Fund will be vital to help him train to reach his goal.”


Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “This new Aspiration Fund is a fantastic opportunity for these athletes and sports to get on track for the Tokyo Games.

“Many of the sports we are currently unable to support, whilst further away from reaching the podium, have the potential not only to inspire through their performances on the field of play but also to inspire new audiences to engage in sport and activity.

“We’d like to thank the Government for their continued support for UK Sport’s mission to inspire the nation through Olympic and Paralympic success.”


GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering ScotlandClif Bar, and Duco.

The GB Paraclimbing Team is supported by Oakwood Climbing Centre and Quay Climbing Centre. The GB Ice Climbing Team is supported by Montane. Many UK walls also support the GB Climbing through free or subsidised entry.

FOLLOW: @GB_Climbing's Instagram for exclusive photos and results

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VISIT: GB Climbing site

HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 La Sportiva British Bouldering Championships


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