Sports Minister hails UK team as ‘credit to UK’
Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have been described as “a credit to the UK” by Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games officially begin on Friday, with a 376-member GB team in search of medals.
Athletes’ competing dreams have been fulfilled with combined £ 342million funding from the Exchequer and the National Lottery via UK Sport and the Tokyo squad is the biggest Britain has ever had during Games abroad.
The team is made up of 272 athletes from England, 52 from Scotland, 29 from Wales and six from Northern Ireland.
All have had to deal with adversity in one form or another over the past 17 months, following the postponement of the Games and then struggling with training and competition due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus.
Huddleston said: “Our Olympic and Paralympic athletes bring honor to the UK. I am impressed with their commitment and the sacrifices they have made until Tokyo 2020.
“Throughout these difficult times, we have remained committed to the GB team and support the athletes to reach their full potential. I am extremely confident that our athletes will create amazing moments, improve the nation’s mood, and inspire millions of people to get active and play new sports as we continue to recover from the pandemic at home.
“It is an honor to travel to Tokyo for the competition, and I know the whole nation will come together to feel immense pride, excitement and wish the GB team and the GB Paralympics the best of luck.”
UK Sport President Dame Katherine Grainger, herself a five-time Olympic rowing medalist, added: “The pride we feel in the efforts of British athletes to achieve their dreams is deep and unwavering. However, this pride has never been as sincere as it is as we look forward to Tokyo.
“I have no doubts that the world will witness a celebration of athletic excellence that will give a much needed boost to people around the world. I am also convinced that although these Games are being held under unique circumstances, our athletes will provide many extraordinary moments and performances to the British public.
“We know how much their efforts mean to sports fans – and how they can be a beacon of hope to inspire and reconnect us all after such a difficult year.
“We must never forget that none of this would be possible without the support of the government and of the national lottery players over the past quarter century.”