Olympic cuts could affect future of Sunderland based club

Aquatic Centre
Aquatic Centre

Members of the City of Sunderland Water Polo team have expressed their disappointment after Olympic funding could lead to North East clubs struggling to produce athletes.

UK Sports, who decides on Olympic funding, have decided to focus on other sports ahead of the next two Olympic Games.

City of Sunderland coach David Clarke, who has seen some of his players go on to regional and national teams, believes it will have an effect in the long term.

David said: “The cuts are of course devastating. The GB team might not have been able to compete in Rio de Janeiro 2014 but Tokyo was definitely a possibility.”

“In the 1960/70’s the sport was thriving, in the North East alone there were around 20 teams. Now teams are a rarity, it’s a real shame.”

“Schools could do more to interest children and encourage them to try new sports. It adds a competitive spin when learning to swim.”

“I think the main reason why people don’t take up water polo is that it has a bad reputation. People immediately think it’s rugby in water but it is not like that, they should try it out.”

Sunderland Aquatic Centre hosted the third qualifying round of the Water Polo 2014 European Championship qualifiers that featured team GB.

City of Sunderland player, Michael Dunning believes people can still get involved with sports even if they might not make it to the international stage.

He said: “I don’t think cuts will discourage people to become professional athletes in these. People who want to reach that level are very passionate about that particular sport. They will not let money stop them becoming the best.”

“I think Water Polo will always be a part of UK sports, there will always be people wanting to do it. I suppose that’s where the funding comes in and if it’s not available it will only be the self-supporting sports that will survive.”

The sports affected by the cuts which also include Basketball, Synchronised Swimming, Badminton and Weightlifting have until the end of March to appeal the cuts.

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