Team GB on course for record Olympic medals haul, says UK Sport
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Team GB on course for record Olympic medals haul, says UK Sport

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Team GB athletes are likely to achieve 47-69 medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics – with the Paralympic team on course for its best ever haul of medals.

Early projections for the Games were revealed during a press conference held by elite sports quango UK Sport this morning (26 January). While the “aspiration goal” it announced in the afterglow of London 2012 of winning more medals than the 65 it achieved four years ago was “on”, a number in the mid-50s appears to be the most likely outcome according to data.

The organisation’s head of performance Simon Timson told journalists that the minimum goal was for the team to eclipse the 47 medals won in Beijing in 2008 – Team GB’s best performance away from British soil.

However, projections made when looking at athlete-by-athlete analysis means that an overall record of 71 is achievable but “unlikely”. Final media targets will be made in July, taking into account form and fitness over the next six months.

“Our likely final medal target range will include 66,” said Timson. “It will probably be at the top end.”

A simulation programme which distributes likely outcomes has calculated GB’s medal haul at 53, while if you take into account Team GB athletes’ performance over 2015 – in which they won 5 per cent of all medals on offer in World and European competition – the team will take home 50 titles from Brazil this summer.

The performance chief acknowledged the “mixed year” for sport in the UK in 2015. While sports like gymnastics have gone from strength to strength, cycling – in which Team GB won 12 medals in 2012 – has struggled following the loss of athletes such as Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

He stressed that the “aspiration” was not the Rio target, and conceded it was a “significant challenge” as no nation has ever won more medals following their turn to host the Olympics.

Throughout the year, British Olympic sports won 47 medals against a target of between 39 and 71, while Paralympic sports won 125 – in line with the target of 110-156.

Timson offered a positive projection for the Paralympic team despite having “less information” to work with, and highlighted a current target of 122-174 medals – the top end of which would be a substantial increase on the 120 won at London 2012 and the 102 achieved in Beijing eight years ago.

Since 2012, para-athletes have set six World Records in the 28 medals they have won, and Timson singled out the sport as a demonstration of what can be achieved in Rio.

“We have great confidence in para-athletics,” he said. “They will be the most local non-local team and the best prepared.”

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