'Better than Beijing' is Britain's main medal target

Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:46am EDT
 
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is unlikely to improve on the home haul of 65 medals in London four years ago and the main target for next month's Rio Olympics is 'better than Beijing', UK Sport said on Thursday.

The high performance sports agency said its target was to come home with at least 48 medals.

The 2008 Beijing Games saw Britain's best showing to date at an overseas Olympics with 47 medals -- the bottom of the current target range that has 79 as the best possible outcome.

No nation has ever followed up hosting a Summer Olympics with an even bigger medal tally at the subsequent Games and UK Sport's director of performance Simon Timson played down the likelihood of that happening.

"We set an aspirational target," he told reporters at a briefing, when asked about the post-2012 aim of winning more medals across more sports in Rio. "It was just that. It was based on something hugely ambitious."

Timson said that a more evidence-based target was needed after assessing performances over the last two years.

"Let's not forget that 66 is still within range, and 79 is the top," he said. "If all the stars are aligned, it's possible that 66 could happen. It's not probable. We don't see it as a likely outcome."

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport's chief executive said more sports were targeting medals in Rio than in Beijing, with golf and rugby sevens now introduced to the program and with the potential for top three performances.   Continued...

 
Golf-British Open - England's Justin Rose poses with the Team GB logo after being unveiled as part of Britain's Olympic Team - Royal Troon, Scotland, Britain - 13/07/2016.   REUTERS/Paul Childs