Horsham Olympian’s funding warning

JPCT 180612 Mark Hawkins carried Olympic torch. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 180612 Mark Hawkins carried Olympic torch. Photo by Derek Martin

Horsham’s London 2012 hero Mark Hawkins has warned Great Britain will become the laughing stock of Europe if funding is taken away.

Mark, 26, was part of the GB handball team at this year’s Olympics, and now the euphoria of the Games has settled, fears for the future of his sport, which is only just starting to take root in this country.

It was Team GB’s first appearance in handball, and they failed to win a point; also losing their next game, against Greece in a European Championships qualifier.

For that game, players were asked to pay their travel expenses as finding in the run up to the Games had run dry.

And UK Sport are set to announce how much, if any, funding handball will receive on December 13 only sports that can demonstrate medal-winning potential are set to be backed.

Hawkins said: “A lot of countries know about the group we have and how we got to the Olympics.

“It will be almost a little bit embarrassing if it isn’t allowed to continue. In a lot of other countries handball is so big that they don’t understand that we have done all the hard work to start the team but then it gets cut it off at its knees.”

Mark, who plans to continue playing in Europe in 2013, is one of the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes, which in partnership with SportsAid, has supported 1,000 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey towards London 2012. Follow future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes.