Waterfield hits out at British Swimming after funding cut

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Waterfield attacks funding 'lies'

Olympic silver medallist Peter Waterfield has revealed his disgust at learning he was losing his athlete funding 'second hand'.

Waterfield, 31, was informed by his coach on Friday, but believes the sport's performance director Alexei Evangulov has known for over a month.

"Apparently he [Evangulov] was too busy," Waterfield told BBC South.

Evangulov responded to Waterfield's comments, saying: "I contacted Peter's home coach to let her know."

"Delivering bad news is never easy from any point of view. We tend to work closely through the home coaches as in this instance to ensure we can put appropriate support mechanisms in place going forward.

"The home coaches were informed about athletes that could potentially lose funding as identified by British Diving and UK Sport at our assessment camp in December.

"We will do everything we can to support Peter who is a fantastic ambassador for the sport. But we have to keep our focus on Rio as instructed by UK Sport."

Waterfield, who admits he is now looking at an enforced retirement, narrowly missed out on a medal at London 2012 finishing fourth alongside Tom Daley in the 10m synchronised platform final.

The diver said: "It's not hard to come and tell someone face to face and even a phone call would have made me feel a bit better."

British Diving's statement added: "British Diving has been working closely with UK Sport, divers and coaches regarding funding and after planning meetings with UK Sport some athletes were identified that could lose their funding in the new funding cycle.

"Peter Waterfield was identified as one of these athletes based on potential for success at the Rio Olympics."

In October, Evangulov confirmed the pair would be competing together until at least the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Last week the veteran diver criticised British Swimming's chief executive David Sparkes for continually using the media to attack his synchronised partner Tom Daley and his commitments outside of the sport.

Waterfield does not believe his comments were behind the move to stop his funding but feels the sport has double standards.

"It's annoyed me because Sparkes and Evangulov are getting paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to do their job and they can't do it properly - without us they wouldn't even have a job," stated a frustrated Waterfield.

"Sparkes has been moaning about how Tom doing these shows and he's not talking to them about what he is doing but yet he can't seem to pick up the phone to tell someone that their funding is going to be taken away.

"I get £1700 a month [in funding] which is paid on 25th and by the 5th of the next month that money is gone because I have to pay my mortgage, a car and put food on the table for my kids.

"April's just a few months away and I now have to find out how I'm going to pay my mortgage and they [British Swimming] haven't left me much time to be able to go and do that."

Waterfield who won an impressive individual World Cup bronze at the Olympic test event last year, understands UK Sport's position - only funding those with Rio 2016 podium potential - but believes he still has plenty to offer.

"I got top eight in the world at the Olympics so I earned my right to have another year of funding at the level that I am on, I've earned it and for everyone to turn around now and say it's getting taken away is a bit of a surprise if I'm honest.

"The only way I can keep diving is if I find another source of funding from elsewhere like sponsorship, but I've been diving for 15 years internationally and I've never had a financial sponsorship.

"I have always relied on this funding and now it's going to be taken away."