The Olympic dream has suffered an ill-timed blow as Richard Buck is forced into shop work after having his funding cut. The 24-year-old British athlete, famed for his string of international medals in the 400m and 4x400m relay, has recently been told that his second tier ‘Podium relay’ funding has stopped; leaving him £20,000 worse off.

After relocating to Loughborough to benefit his training, Buck still has access to top coaches on campus and intends to continue his weekly trip to Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport.

However, after being named as one of four 400m runners to be cut by UK Athletics, he must now go his own way in terms of training camps and travel; something he believes will require around £15,000.

Buck commented, “With podium relay funding, you get £10,000 to cover rent and the cost of living, such as food and fuel. You receive full medical cover and access to two training camps – one in the winter and one at the start of the season. They are worth around £3,000 each.”

After beginning his stint at a local supermarket, Buck remains refreshingly upbeat despite the recent turn of events:  “It is really tough for this to happen so close to London 2012. It is definitely a bit of a shock.  But, in fairness it's just one of the harsh realities of professional sport. I'm staying positive. I don't have a single doubt in my mind right now.”

Amongst those unfortunate enough to be dropped at a crucial point on the Olympic quest is former Olympic bronze medallist heptathlete Kelly Sotherton. After her switch to the 400m following a recurrence of injuries, she too has been left to back herself on her journey to the podium.

Announcing the decision, Charles van Commenee, UK Athletics head coach, said: “We operate in a results-driven business in which clear decisions have to be made if athletes are not performing to the high standards we expect.”

Britain finished fourth in the relay event in Beijing where Buck travelled as an unused member of the squad.

He is now in the processof searching for sponsors to help ease the burden as he moves his focus back onto the medal trail.


What do you think of the UKA's decision to cut funding? Have you or somebody you know been affected? Let us know by commenting below, tweeting @labelonline or email


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