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Team GB hits UK Sport medal target days before the conclusion of Rio 2016

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Team GB has achieved its best ever away result at the Olympic Games with days of Rio 2016 to spare – marking a return on UK Sport's £274m (US$356.6m, €316.7m) investment programme.

Sprint cyclist Jason Kenny won Team GB’s 48th medal – and the sixth Olympic gold of his career – to surpass the 47 won in Beijing in 2008.

With five days to go in the Games, Great Britain sits second in the medal table with 19 gold, 18 silver and 11 bronze in 14 sports compared to 11 eight years ago.

Several sports have achieved or surpassed their medal targets, apparently vindicating UK Sport’s no compromise approach to funding sports in which Great Britain has a good chance of success.

Kenny and the rest of the sprint cycling team dominated proceedings in the velodrome, surpassing the quango’s maximum target of 10 medals to finish with 11 – six of which were gold.

Over the four year Rio cycle between 2013 and 2017 UK Sport earmarked £30.3m (US$39.4m, €35m) of National Lottery and public money for cycling – the second largest investment in one sport. However, a large budget doesn’t necessarily equate to success.

Rowing received the largest overall investment over the period, with £32.6m (US$42.4m, €37.7m) ploughed into the sport, although the team failed to hit UK Sport’s minimum target of six with five medals, potentially putting a question mark against its level of funding in the future.

In general, the sports that were well funded tended to do well. UK Sport’s £20.8m (US$27.1m, €24m) investment in swimming secured six medals, one above its maximum target. Gymnastics (£14.6m, US$19m, €16.9m) and equestrian (£18m, US$23.4m, €20.8m) also performed to, or above, expectation.

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive, lauded Britain’s high performance system as the “envy of the world” and credited the British Olympic Association (BOA) for ensuring Team GB was the “best supported team at this Games bar none”.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said the government’s investment in elite sport was vindicated by the result so far.

“Surpassing the medal target with days of the competition left is an incredible achievement and I congratulate the whole team, including the athletes, coaches, physios and all the support staff,” she added.

It remains to be seen of Great Britain can surpass the 65 medals won during London 2012 and push towards UK Sport’s upper target of 79 medals over the coming days.

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Team GB has achieved its best ever away result at the Olympic Games with days of Rio 2016 to spare – marking a return on UK Sport's £274m (US$356.6m, €316.7m) investment programme.
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Gold medals for Laura Trott and Jason Kenny helped Team GB towards its record-breaking target / David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images
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