02/01/2013 05:27 EST | Updated 04/03/2013 05:12 EDT

British basketball earns Olympic funding reprieve after appeal by Luol Deng

LONDON - The plea from Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng to British Prime Minister David Cameron has worked: funding will be restored to the country's Olympic basketball program.

Britain's basketball squads were told in December they'd receive no funding ahead of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

But on Friday, UK Sport, which distributes the cash, announced that basketball will receive funding expected to total several million pounds.

Basketball received 8.6 million pounds (C$13.45 million) in the four years before 2012 London Olympics where Britain qualified through its host-nation place.

International Basketball Federation secretary general Patrick Baumann says "the new funding will allow the sport to build on the progress and growth it has already made in a very short time and aim for a podium place in 2020."

Deng had been among many critics of the government's plan to scrap the funding, sending a letter to Cameron this week asking for it to be restored.

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