POSTED: July 20th 2010

Britain on target for both medals and feelgood factor, says UK Sport boss

Now beat that! Sir Chris Hoy, in Beijing, became the first Briton to win three golds in one Games in a century /
Now beat that! Sir Chris Hoy, in Beijing, became the first Briton to win three golds in one Games in a century /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Jul 20: British sport believes it remains, funding cuts notwithstanding, on-track to deliver a 2012 feel-good fillip for the nation - and tennis wants to learn the tricks of the London Olympics preparation trade.

That was the outgoing message handed down by chief executive John Steele in London today before he leaves UK Sport after five years to become chief executive of the Rugby Football Union.

The occasion for Steele was the latest  review of the Mission 2012 system which tracks the attainment levels of the majority of Britain's sports heading towards the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 'tracker boards' all speak of positive steps, a sort of snakes and ladders board which is long on ladders and short on snakes. That, according to Steele, is no accident.

He said: "What you see here is very positive. Of course there are always challenges but we are online to deliver in London 2012. When we won the bid back in 2005 we met with all the sports governing bodies and decied we wanted to be in the top four [in medals terms] in the Olympics in 2012 and in the two in the Paralympics.

'Painful' cuts

"We wanted an uplift from our Beijing performance and we are online to do that. A lot of work has since gone in and we are heading in the right direction. The established sports are doing what we expected and those other sports which did not medal at the last three Games are also really coming through."

Steele insisted that "painful" funding cuts already announced and an anticipated more to come would not affect the strategy of targets. He also noted that tennis - an Olympic sport always under annual public scrutiny with every succeeding failure at Wimbledon - was planning a submission, demonstrating a will to study best practice in other sports.

He was handing over the work as an "incredibly exciting time for the Olympic and Paralympic movement - with incredible progress having been made."

Steele defined success not in a specific numbers of medals but in putting athletes on the podium for the sake of "national pride, nationhood and the feelgood spirit that will bring to every fabric of our society."

Keywords · UK Sport · London 2012 · Olympic Games · Steele

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