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Sunday, 24 February, 2002, 19:55 GMT

GB chief demands more funds

By BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson with Team GB

The head of Britain's Olympic team has called on the Government to provide more funding for Winter Olympians.

Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association and chef de mission of Team GB, said Britain was like a third world nation when it came to funding the alpine ski team.

He told BBC Sport Online: "Alain Baxter's bronze medal is the icing on the cake for us at these Olympics. It was simply awesome.

"Alain has succeeded despite the system and not because of it."

Slalom skier Baxter won Britain's first ever medal on snow at a Winter Olympics and it capped the country's best showing since 1936.

Three medals were won at Salt Lake City, a gold in the women's curling, and bronzes for Baxter and bob skeleton slider Alex Coomber.

"There is no place for complacency and we will raise the Olympic qualifying standard if it needs to be"
GB chef de mission Simon Clegg

But Clegg said the only way to ensure a similar result in Turin in 2006 was for the athletes to be properly funded.

He said: "I have no problem with accountability but success must be rewarded.

"We know the pot is limited but I think there is sufficient money in the British system to provide this.

"We are never going to be in the Premier League with the alpine nations but we have shown we can produce world class athletes."

Clegg did warn those who did under-perform at these Games to expect their grants could be cut.

Full analysis

He said: "I know there have been mixed results here and we will sit down and have a full de-briefing before we decide the next step.

"A full analysis will take place for every performance.

"There is no place for complacency and we will raise the Olympic qualifying standard if it needs to be raised."

The head coach of the British ski team, Christian Schwaiger, said British skiing would suffer in the future if the chance to restructure the whole system was not seized on now.

He told BBC Sport Online: "We will probably have a stronger team in Turin but after that it looks bleak.

"We have shown we can produce results but we need proper junior and children's programmes in place.

"We need more money to get the talented youngsters into the mountains to train."


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