Some of the sports held up as the biggest crowd-pleasers and legacy drivers during the London Olympics have had their funding cut altogether ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Table tennis, wrestling, handball, basketball and indoor volleyball have had their financial support withdrawn by UK Sport, while beach volleyball will receive just £400,000 over four years to fund the women's team.
The elite-sport funding agency was forced to defend the tough decisions on minority sports, made under its "no-compromise formula" that targets public money only at genuine medal hopes, at a time when the Olympic legacy is under scrutiny.
"I think people understand that when you host a home Olympics you have to put teams out in every single sport. Bizarre though it sounds to say it now, the rationale is to drive ticket sales," said the sports minister Hugh Robertson. "When people look at it, they know that is done on a performance basis. There is not a lot of point at this level, funding teams that are not going to qualify for the Olympics."
Those sports that have fuelled the rise in Britain's medal-table positions over the past eight years were rewarded with increased investment.
UK Sport vowed that funding, increased from £312m to £347m and guaranteed by the government for the next four years, would be invested in making sure Great Britain becomes the first host nation to deliver more medals at the following Games. It has already targeted at least 66 Olympic medals, one more than this time round, and 121 Paralympic medals, for Rio 2016.
Swimming, which underperformed in London and is in a state of flux, was effectively placed on 12 months' probation along with boxing, fencing and judo. Over four years it is due to receive £21.4m, down from £25.1m, but will have to prove its effectiveness after 12 months.
On Tuesday, British Swimming was told by Sport England that its grassroots funding would also be limited to one year until it could prove its worth. "We were disappointed and they were disappointed with the performance in London," said the UK Sport chief executive, Liz Nicholl. She said that a new structure, including a new performance director and head coach, would have to prove its worth in a year's time in order to release the rest of the funding.
Boxing, which did well in London and saw investment over four years rise by 40% to £13.8m, will also be given 12 months to sort out internal governance issues.
Overall, the amount of funding going into elite Olympic and Paralympic sport is going up by 11% over the next four years, with £347m due to be invested with the aim of winning more medals in Rio than Team GB achieved in London.
Thirty-five sports across the Olympic and Paralympic programmes received increased funding, with just seven suffering a decline. Sports such as cycling (£30.6m), rowing (£32.6m), sailing (£24.5m) and equestrianism (£17.9m), all of which excelled in London, are rewarded with budget increases under UK Sport's "no-compromise formula".
Funding for athletics has increased slightly to £26.8m over four years, despite missing the target set by its then head coach, Charles van Commenee. A total of 42 sports will receive funding and Nicholl added: "We're very confident we're supporting every creditable medal shot for 2016."
The Guardian revealed in June that sports such as handball and volleyball that were reliant on home-nation places to make the Games were likely to see their funding cut altogether unless they could prove they might win medals by 2020. Nicholl pointed to sports such as gymnastics and hockey that had previously lost all their elite-level funding but had come back to prove that they were capable of winning medals. "It has not been easy making the decisions or sharing them with sports today. I think some of these sports have got to concentrate on increasing participation base, improving their talent in the UK, improving their competition structure before they can compete with confidence for medals at a world level," she said.
Sport England's chief executive Jennie Price pointed out that those sports that lost funding would still receive support from its grassroots programme, designed to help build the talent base. But athletes took to Twitter to describe their response to losing funding. "I'm devastated, absolutely gutted. I gave my all for seven years, now we've been chopped," said the handball player Christopher McDermott.
British Basketball said the decision was a "waste" of previous funding in the run-up to the London Games. "We knew the criteria that UK Sport were applying for Rio, but having been funded to the tune of £8.5m in the lead-up to the London Olympics because of the sport's medal potential for the future, this is a devastating decision and is a waste of that investment," said its chairman, Roger Moreland.
"Over the last five years, the GB teams have done the equivalent of going from League Two in football to the Premier League. They have been competing with the very best countries in the world. It doesn't seem much of a legacy from 2012 to dash the hopes and aspirations of a sport whose heartland is founded in Britain's inner-cities."
But UK Sport, which will invest a total of £500m across the four years to Rio including money put towards research, medicine and major events, said that in many ways the London Games were an anomaly because it was forced to fund sports that would normally get nothing under its criteria.
OLYMPIC SPORTS FUNDING 2013-2017
Athletics �£26.8m (from £25.1m) - 6 medals in London (hit target 5-8 medals)
Boxing* �£13.8m (£9.6m) - 5 medals (hit target 3-5 medals)
Canoeing �£19.1 (£16.2m) - 4 medals (hit target 3-4 medals)
Cycling �£30.6m (£26.0m) - 12 medals (surpassed target 6-10 medals)
Diving �£7.5m (£6.5m) - 1 medal (hit target 1-3 medals)
Equestrian �£17.9m (£13.4m) - 5 medals (surpassed target 3-4 medals)
Fencing* �£3.1m (£2.5m) - 0 medals (hit target 0-1 medals)
Gymnastics �£14.5 (£10.7m) - 4 medals (surpassed taregt 1-2 medals)
Hockey �£15.5m (£15.1m) - 1 medal (hit target 1-2 medals)
Modern Pentathlon �£6.9m (£6.3m) - 1 medal (hit target 1-2 medals)
Rowing �£32.6m (£27.3m) - 9 medals (surpassed target 6 medals)
Sailing �£24.5m (£22.9m) - 5 medals (hit target 3-5 medals)
Shooting �£3.0m (£2.5m) - 1 medal (hit target 0-1 medals)
Synchronised Swimming �£4.3m (£3.4m) - 0 medals (hit target 0 medals)
Taekwondo �£6.9m (£4.8m) - 2 medals (hit target 1-3 medals)
Triathlon �£5.5m (£5.3m) - 2 medals (hit target 1-2 medals)
Water Polo*** �£4.5m (£2.9m) - 0 medals (hit target 0 medals)
Weightlifting �£1.8m (£1.3m) - 0 medals (hit target 0 medals)
Archery �£3.1m (£4.4m) - 0 medals (missed performance target)
Badminton �£5.9m (£7.4m) - 0 medals (missed performance target)
Basketball zero funding (£8.6m) - 0 medals (missed performance target)
Handball zero funding (£2.9m) - missed performance target
Judo* �£6.8m (£7.5m) - 2 medals (surpassed target 0-1 medals)
Swimming* �£21.4m (£25.1m) - 3 medals (missed target 5-7 medals)
Table tennis zero funding (£1.2m) - missed performance target
Volleyball** �£400,00 (£3.5m) - missed performance target
Wrestling zero funding (£1.4m) - missed performance
* first year only guaranteed, remainder pending approval
** funding only for women's beach volleyball
*** funding only for women's water polo.
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