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Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:13 UK

GB target 35 medals from Beijing

Chris Hoy
Reigning Olympic champion Hoy is going for gold again in Beijing

UK Sport has set the British Olympic squad a target of finishing eighth in the medal table at the Beijing Games.

The organisation, which distributes Lottery funding to elite sport, has targeted 41 medals and expects GB to win 35, including 10 to 12 golds.

That would mean the best medal performance by a British team at an unboycotted Games since 1920.

"There is every reason to be confident medal success will be achieved," said UK Sport chief executive John Steele.

"Beijing has the potential to be a memorable Games for Team GB's athletes.

"The targets are ambitious and reaching them would be the best boycott-free medal performance by Britain for nearly a hundred years.

"Crucially they will also show whether we are on track towards our ultimate goals for London 2012."

UK Sport believes British athletes can claim medals in 17 different sports:

Archery - Target of 2 medals
Athletics - 5 medals
Badminton - 1 medal
Boxing - 2 medals
Canoeing - 2 medals
Cycling - 6 medals
Diving - 1 medal
Equestrian - 3 medals
Gymnastics Artistic - 1 medal
Judo - 2 medals
Modern Pentathlon - 1 medal
Rowing - 4 medals
Sailing - 4 medals
Shooting - 2 medals
Swimming - 3 medals
Taekwondo - 1 medal
Triathlon - 1 medal

UK Sport feels Team GB has a chance of winning 41 medals but says that "the very tight margins between success and failure at this level means not every single medal will be won".

Therefore, it is expected that only 85% of that figure - which equates to 35 medals - will be won.

GB achieved 10th place in the medal table four years ago in Athens with a total of 30 medals, including nine golds.

Cyclist Chris Hoy and sailor Ben Ainslie were among the Britons crowned Olympic champions in Greece and are tipped to claim gold again.

BBC 5 Live's Olympic correspondent Gordon Farquhar

But with the retirement of the likes of Kelly Holmes, who claimed double gold in Athens on the track, and rower Matthew Pinsent, who took his gold tally to four in the last Games, GB will also need a new generation to come good.

Steele is under no illusions as to the size of the task and told BBC Radio 5 Live: "With Beijing just weeks away and also London 2012 just over four years away, everyone knows we have got to get better.

"And you don't get better by under-shooting or lacking ambition and sports aren't doing that.

"What is really good to see is that there is ambition and we all want to improve."

UK Sport has already set Team GB a target of fourth place in the medal table at the London Games.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: "We are investing a record amount of public money in our elite athletes and hope to see that transferred into medal success in Beijing this summer and then in London in 2012.

"We have made great progress in some sports with the recent World Championship performances of our cycling and swimming teams encouraging ahead of the Games.

"But, of course, there is no room for complacency and sports and athletes must continue to try and up their game as the margins between winning and losing are so fine."

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