GB Softball Grant Successful, Receives £288,750 in Funding

Tue 30 Mar 2021

BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK), the British Softball Federation (BSF) and UK Sport today announced that the GB Women’s Fastpitch Softball Senior Team has been successful in receiving National Squads Support Funding from UK Sport. Following the successful application, GB Softball will be awarded £288,750 as part of the Paris 2024 funding cycle. This is the largest direct funding amount received by GB softball in the past 15 years.

“Today’s announcement is huge for the sport, and for the talented athletes in the GB Softball programme,” said GB Women’s Fastpitch Softball Head Coach Rachael Watkeys. “With 2019 being one of our most successful years on the field, it’s wonderful to be recognised by UK Sport in such a profound and impactful way. This award means our pursuit of a medal in LA 2028 starts today.”

Following GB Softball’s last trip to the Olympic Qualifiers in 2019, which saw the team come within one win of their first Olympic berth, this funding will have a dual purpose; first, to be used as a stepping stone for the GB Softball team, currently ranked fourth in Europe and 13th in the world, as they pursue Olympic qualification for the games in Los Angeles in 2028; and second, to position softball for the next stage of funding prior to the 2028 and 2032 Olympic funding cycles. With softball omitted from the Paris 2024 games, today’s announcement gives GB Softball seven years to train and prepare for the next opportunity to showcase the sport on the world’s most high profile elite athletic stage.

“GB Softball will be well positioned to inspire the next generation of women and girls in their Olympic dreams, both on and off the field”, added Watkeys.

Today’s announcement is the result of more than eighteen months of work by BSUK’s staff, the BSF’s Executive Board, and several BSF volunteers. This was achieved through a Working Group comprising stakeholders from across the softball community including Chris Rawlings, Liz Knight, Alyson Spinas-Valainis, Rachael Watkeys, Alexis Markham-Hill, Alan Le Marquand and Craig Montvidas.

BSUK is aware that there is still an opportunity for GB Baseball to access funding and is reiterating an offer to help secure this to the programme.

The National Squads Support Fund is available to summer Olympic and Paralympic sports that did not receive World Class Programme or Progression funding as part of the December investment process for the build-up to Tokyo and through to Paris 2024 and beyond. Six Olympic and two Paralympic sports will initially benefit from the NSSF. The fund is expected to have an impact on over 100 athletes who would otherwise not receive support and offer a crucial contribution in enabling them to represent their country on the biggest stages.

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