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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
GB set finals target for Worlds
By Phil Harlow

Paula Radcliffe
Radcliffe's gold was one of the few bright spots at the last Worlds
Athletics chiefs have targeted a minimum of 14 British athletes reaching the finals of their events at August's World Championships in Japan.

UK Athletics expects 20-25% of the finalists to win a medal, according to new chief executive Niels de Vos.

"We're effectively rebuilding athletics going towards 2012," said De Vos.

Only seven British athletes reached the final of their event at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, the lowest total since the event began in 1983.

The championship was viewed as a disaster for British athletics, with Paula Radcliffe's gold in the marathon on the final day representing the only individual medal.

Britain also won bronze medals in the men's 4x100m relay and the women's 4x400m relay to finish 16th in the table, below the Bahamas, Estonia and the Netherlands.

Niels de Vos
Osaka is a vital proving ground for British athletes

UK Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos

"We missed a generation of athletes around the late 1990s and early part of this decade," said De Vos.

"We saw the first signs of a new generation coming through at the European Indoors in Birmingham, but now we must translate that to outdoors and the world stage.

"Winning an Olympic or World Championships medal is probably the toughest task in world sport, bar none.

"We're aiming towards the 2012 Olympics in London, and we make no apologies for that, but Osaka is a vital proving ground."

UK Athletics performance director Dave Collins added: "Fourteen finalists is a 'stretch target' but it's one I think we can achieve if we get things right.

606: DEBATE

"If we get things very right, we can exceed it.

"It was a very promising winter, but there is a lot more to do. There is no complacency.

"We need to ask: 'Have we done the best job we can with each individual athlete?'"

Collins said there would be a change to the selection process for major championships, with the emphasis falling on genuine finalist contenders and youngsters who would benefit from the experience of competing at the highest standard.



SEE ALSO
Athletics boss tempers 2012 hopes
06 Feb 07 |  Athletics
Is De Vos the right boss?
30 Jan 07 |  Athletics
De Vos handed UK Athletics post
30 Jan 07 |  Athletics
Late golds put seal on GB triumph
04 Mar 07 |  Athletics
Giant leap for GB
04 Mar 07 |  Athletics
Helsinki horrors
14 Aug 05 |  Athletics


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