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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
2012 talent search gets under way
Matthew Pinsent
Olympic rowing great Matthew Pinsent is backing '20-4-12'
Britain has begun a grassroots search for 20 potential Olympic champions in the build-up to the 2012 London Games.

Britain has ambitious plans to reach fourth place in the 2012 medals table.

The 500,000 nationwide '20-4-12' talent search is targeting 11-16 year-olds who might have the raw talent to reach the Olympic podium.

GB rowing great Matthew Pinsent said: "If you find the right individual and the right sport, you can do an awful lot in six years."

Through youth clubs, schools and national sports bodies, project leaders hope to sift through the hopefuls before finally picking 1,000 children to attend 100 talent camps.

The scheme has been developed from a similar one which operated in Australia in the build-up to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

"Enthusiasm for sport in the run-up to the Games is greater than it has ever been." Pinsent said. "It is such an opportunity for sport in this country.

"Everyone agrees there are three Olympic nations we cannot reach - China, America and Russia.

"But there are countries such as Australia, Italy and Germany which are in the high teens in the (gold) medal table. We have got to beat them."



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