(Reuters) - Britain’s hopes of fielding a team when skateboarding makes its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been thrown into doubt due to a funding crisis.
Governing body Skateboard England lost its Sport England backing earlier this month and chief executive James Hope-Gill fears that plans for the next Olympics could suffer as a result, according to a report in The Times newspaper.
Five sports, including baseball, skateboarding and surfing, will feature in Tokyo as part of the IOC’s revamp of the Games program to attract a younger audience.
“The Olympics is a fantastic opportunity. It can bring profile, credibility, more funding, facilities. Skateboarding ticks all the social boxes,” Hope-Gill told the newspaper.
Hope-Gill, whose efforts to hold a UK national championship was unable to find financial support, said that rival nations were well ahead in terms of preparations for the Games.
“Australia, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and some Scandinavian countries are already being funded by their governments,” he said.
“In France, they have 17 skateboarders, members of staff, traveling the world skating together to create a real team ethos.”
Skateboarding at the Tokyo Games will have a total of four medal events for 40 men and 40 women in two categories — park (a hollowed-out course featuring a series of curves) and street (a straight course featuring stairs, handrails and curbs).
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien