Britain's Olympic sports will be faced with the carrot of increased funding before the 2012 Olympics - and the stick of having their cash cut if they fail to reach performance targets.

UK Sport yesterday announced that 24 of the 26 Olympic sports are to have their funding increased by sums between £45,000 (triathlon) and £1.5 million (cycling) over the next three years.

Football and tennis are not included in the cash hand-out because they are deemed to be wealthy enough already.

UK Sport have allocated £65.3 million of public money before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, coming after Chancellor Gordon Brown last month announced up to £300 million to help athlete preparations for London 2012.

However, UK Sport have warned that all sports will be reassessed after the Beijing Games and must have met medal targets, as well as other business and management targets, in order to qualify for the next round of even higher funding.

Sue Campbell, chair of funding body UK Sport, said: "It is for the sports and athletes now to prove by their performances in the next three years that this investment is justified and indeed should be increased as they build up to London 2012.

"They must also demonstrate they are fit for purpose in handling public funds. Through our funding triggers, we will carefully monitor governance and performance issues and withhold funding to any sport not meeting the criteria, while offering support to help them get there."

The cash will be split into two main areas. The first area is supporting elite athletes in terms of personal payments, coaching and medical and training facilities. The second area is in developing potential talent and whittling down athletes to find medal contenders for 2012.

Much of the first injection of cash is likely to be used to take on the best coaches available, many of whom will have to come from abroad.

UK Sport and the British Olympic Association will be targeting Australia's place of fourth in the medal table at the 2012 Games, while ousting China to come first in the Paralympics.

Sports which have achieved Olympic success recently, such as rowing and cycling, will receive similar levels of funding to larger but under-performing sports such as athletics, despite the number of medals up for grabs being far fewer.

Most of the money in rowing will be used for 'polishing up' the elite in the sport. By contrast, more of the money being allocated to athletics will be in finding and developing talent.

UK Sport performance director Peter Keen said: "These are big carrots but big sticks will be used as well. It is a no-compromise approach, and we will be tough."

Sports receiving funding for the first time are water polo, volleyball, handball, synchronised swimming and basketball.

Keen said these were not expected to produce medal winners in 2012 but should be demonstrating credible performances and targeting a place in the world's top ten.

Handball, for example, will receive £2.98million over the next three years and, although it is played by only a tiny percentage of the population, Keen said the funding should enable this country to become one of the world's top ten or 12 sides.

Campbell believes increased funding should have an effect post-2012. She added: "We have started today a six-year process that will not just deliver medals in 2012, but help to transform the high-performance system in this country forever. Allocating funding across so many sports is never easy, but a decision eventually has to be made about the relative merits of competing demands."