European youth weightlifting champion Rebekah Tiler fears that a lack of funding will hinder her bid for Olympic glory.
The 15-year-old from Denholme is suffering because British Weight Lifting have had their money from UK Sport reduced.
Rebekah’s mum Emma said: “We found out last month that Rebekah’s £350 a month from UK Sport as part of British Weight Lifting’s World Class Programme was being stopped.
“We used that money to stay overnight on long trips domestically and also to help with foreign journeys.
“In addition, we spent the cash on nutritional things such as protein shakes, which could amount to £50 a month, and on general support services.
“We have irons in the fire with Lloyds Bank in Keighley and Sainsbury’s but what worries us now is that Rebekah may miss out on some national and international events because we cannot afford to get her there, and she may not be able to compete at the same standard that she has been.”
The teenager’s rapid rise in the sport, which has seen her smash a host of British and European age-group records, led to her being nominated among the ten candidates for BBC young sports personality of the year in 2013.
Having claimed gold at junior and youth level in the Common-wealth Championships in Malaysia last November, she is now hoping for selection in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games this summer after recently making the qualifying standard.
The Bingley Grammar School pupil, who trains five times a week, was one of ten athletes named by British Weight Lifting last summer who were to receive funding and be part of their World Class Programme.
Rebekah, who trains at Mytholmroyd, was by far the youngest to be backed and was earmarked for the 2016 Olympics in Rio and, even more strongly, for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
British Weight Lifting’s chief executive officer Ashley Metcalfe said: “It was a very difficult decision for UK Sport to cut our funding, which was a very substantial £1.2 million for a small sport over three years, but we haven’t lost all our money as some media outlets have said.
“I don’t see that the door is fully closed and we have the chance to go to appeal, which two other sports don’t have.
“Maybe the opportunity to have a review will prove to be a positive thing in the long run.
“But the recent English Championships were very good for the sport domestically.
“We had 13 athletes reaching the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard, record entries and full houses on both days, and our International Paralympic Committee funding is still in place.
“The Commonwealth Games is funded by Sport England and the Olympic Games is funded by UK Sport.”
Anyone who is interested in backing Rebekah should ring her mum Emma on 07926-587379 or her dad Chris on 07933-084146.