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Page last updated at 17:48 GMT, Thursday, 7 April 2011 18:48 UK

GB Olympic sports may exceed expectations in 2011

By Jessica Creighton
Olympic Sport Reporter

GB sports may exceed expectations

UK Sport has identified gymnastics, taekwondo and hockey as sports that could exceed expectations in 2011.

Earlier this year the funding body set a goal of 30 to 61 World Championship medals for 2011, across 19 sports, and a top-four medal-table finish at the London Olympics in 2012.

Chief executive Liz Nicholl told BBC Sport: "Taekwondo won more medals last year than ever before and have ambitions to get between one and three medals at the World Championships this year.

"The sports we're really impressed with are the next batch coming through - those that didn't do so well in Beijing but have now got multi-medal potential.

"Hockey have identified a minimum European Championship potential of two medals. That shows the level of ambition there is now in that sport and its journey to 2012.

"Gymnastics is really proving that we can create a system that can compete with the rest of the world.

"There are a number of sports in that middle band and we're excited about seeing what their performances will look like in 2012."

UK Sport, who are determined to better the 47 medals won at the Beijing Olympics three years ago, works closely with 27 Olympic sports to monitor their progress three times a year through the Mission 2012 review programme.

With 15 months to go until Britain's athletes compete at the London Olympics, it is hoped Mission 2012 will enable sports to gauge their readiness and identify any challenges they face to prevent them reaching their medal targets.

The sports assess themselves - in areas such as athlete performance, working environment and staff expertise - using a traffic-light system.

A green rating indicates the sport feels it is performing well and on track to achieve its goals. An amber rating means issues have been identified but are yet to be resolved. And a red rating highlights a serious problem whereby a solution is yet to be found.

In its latest findings, the Mission 2012 results showed 11 sports are rated green overall and 16 rated amber.

None of the sports had an overall red rating, although badminton and handball had one sub category of red each, which indicated they are having issues with their "system" - namely their functionality and the culture experienced by athletes and staff.

British badminton's problems of infighting and resignations have been well documented, as Nicholl stated: "British badminton came into UK Sport and took advantage of the panel of experts we have put together that can provide advice and guidance across sport.

"We were very impressed with how honest badminton was in terms of identifying the challenges it has."

Britain's high-profile sports like cycling and rowing, which receive a high proportion of UK Sport's £100m public-funding pot, are operating with green ratings across the board - a positive sign as these sports are expected to attract large crowds for the London Games.

Sailing, canoeing, hockey, boxing and modern pentathlon are also completely green-rated.

Tennis, who voluntarily joined the Mission 2012 process in a bid to improve its medal chances for the London Games despite not being funded by UK Sport, rated itself amber. Football is now the only sport not involved in the review.

Following a 38-medal haul at the 2011 World Championships, Disability Athletics was given a green rating overall.

Eight other Paralympic sports were rated green overall and nine were rated amber.

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see also
GB on track for record 2012 Games
14 Mar 11 |  London 2012

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