Sport England has awarded Commonwealth Games England (CGE) £4 million of National Lottery funding to support Team England’s preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
The funding, alongside the funds that CGE raises from sponsors, will enable Team England to create the best possible performance environment for the athletes, coaches and support staff.
This will include a preparation camp prior to the Games, which is crucial for acclimatisation, and all the support services that athletes require.
It also means that Team England will be able to send a full quota of around 400 athletes who will compete in 18 sports, including 38 para medal events in what will be the largest ever para-sport programme.
With support staff, this makes it the biggest sporting team ever to represent England overseas – some 10,000 miles away.
Team England is the nation’s most inclusive and diverse team, featuring athletes and para athletes from all over the country and an equal gender split across the team. After topping the medal table in 2014 with 174 medals, including 59 gold, Team England is also one of the nation’s most successful teams.
Many of the stars from Glasgow, including Laura Kenny (née Trott), Max Whitlock, Adam Peaty, Oliver Hynd and Sophie Thornhill have all recently enjoyed success for Team GB and ParalympicsGB in Rio.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said:
“This is fantastic news for Team England and will allow them to take a fully prepared team so they can try and replicate their phenomenal success from Glasgow 2014. As we saw at Rio 2016, Lottery funding has played a crucial role in our sporting success and the support from the public will allow our athletes to continue to shine on the international stage.”
The Commonwealth Games is seen as a significant stepping stone for athletes, giving them the essential experience needed to compete on the wider international stage, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For non-Olympic sports such as squash, lawn bowls and netball, it sits alongside their World Championships as the most important event in their four year cycle.
Sport England is more commonly known for funding grassroots sport, but also creates world-class training facilities and makes direct funding award to support talented athletes.
Phil Smith, Sport England Director of Sport, said:
“London, Glasgow and Rio have shown us two very important things – English athletes are among the very best in the world and millions of fans love to cheer them on. Sport England is absolutely committed to the success of Team England at the Commonwealth Games. With this National Lottery funding, we’re proudly standing shoulder to shoulder with the team and supporting our greatest sporting talent.”
Paul Blanchard, Commonwealth Games England’s CEO, said:
“We are really pleased to have secured the funding from Sport England, which will allow us to create the best possible performance environment for our athletes to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in 2018. This funding recognises the value of the Commonwealth Games themselves, but also their strategic importance for developing talent and delivering medals in line with the Government’s and Sport England’s strategies.”
Alex Danson, Vice-Captain of the women’s hockey team that won Olympic gold in Rio, said:
“Having just got back from Rio, I understand how important sporting success is to the nation and we aim to continue this in 2018. Team England is fully focused on ensuring that we, the athletes, are given every opportunity to produce excellent performances at the Commonwealth Games and the contribution from Sport England is important in helping us achieve further success on the Gold Coast.”