Fundraiser Rena Fairbrother believes her daughter Kelsi’s talent is being restricted by a lack of government funding for Great Britain’s Olympic Handball team. Rena, from Liverpool, insists Team GB may have their dreams and aspirations crushed due to no money, forcing parents to make the necessary sacrifices to try and do their best to support them.
She said: “It is difficult, particularly when families have to get involved to help. Originally an amount was set aside for the girls’ accommodation, food and travel but as the girls ply their trade in the Denamrk Handball League, the costs are high. They have received the last of their funding as of the 20th of March and the cost of living in Denmark is such that what small amount they did receive was halved. A meal at McDonald's is the equivalent of £9.50, and that's not the type of food they should be eating, but by far and away the cheapest they can get.”
Handball is one of eight sports which has not been told what their funding allocation will be, while the 19 most high-profile sports have all been given a slice of almost £247 million. Kelsi Fairbrother said: “I left my home and my family when I was just 16 to chase my dreams of competing for the Great Britain handball team.
"To play handball at the highest level was all I ever wanted to do and so uprooting my whole life to move to Denmark and leave behind all my friends and family was a sacrifice I was willing to make, and my family totally supported my decision
"Our base in Denmark is a no-frills sports academy, but the facilities are world-class and we are learning so much, so quickly and I am now totally submerged in the handball culture that exists in Denmark. Our improvement has been astounding in such a short time.”
Rena hopes that a ‘Great Britons’ website organised by British Airways, which will pay for flights to an international handball competition, will raise the profile of the game, and make the Olympic committee speed up their decision on an amount that Team GB Handball will receive.
By Alex Fontaine, Sports Editor
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