At the end of 2012 Siemens stopped their £6 million Great Britain Rowing Contract. This was a huge loss to the setup, not only has it limited the grassroots development, training it has also put a stop to winning bonuses for boats (£10,000 per World level win). This means for all those in or entering the sport during the run up to 2012 (many I studied with at University) suddenly the finances did not add up. More so, crews such as the Men's Quadruple Scull have made history in the run up to Rio since 2012 by winning Bronze and Silver at the 2013 and 2014 World Championships respectively. All the previous years hard work without a monetary reward.
Why is this related? We are a few weeks away from The Rowing World Championships in Aiguebelette, France and GB Rowing are still without a lead sponsor. GB Rowing is one of the most successful GB sports, in fact it is the only GB sport to have won a Gold medal in every olympic games since 1984. It seems bizarre that they have not found a sponsor given the abundance of incredible ambassadors within the team.
I personally train alongside athletes (track) looking to make the GB team for Rio 2016 and it is a real concern to them what this cut means. Importantly why has it been allowed to happen? The lack of comment by British Athletics does not indicate Morrisons are about to replace Sainsbury's either!
Importantly is the 'strategic review' conducted by Sainsbury's anything to do with recent doping allegations within the sport or just a decrease in profits?
If it is the former maybe Sainsbury's could join forces with a much cleaner sport and move across to rowing..still benefit from Olympic endorsement without the full olympiad commitment.
Sainsbury's has cut short its four-year deal to sponsor British Athletics, which had been due to run until 2017. The multimillion-pound contract was agreed in 2013, but included a clause for a mid-point review which has allowed the supermarket chain to end the deal early. The announcement comes days before the World Championships starts in Beijing.