Mission 2012 highlights period of change as 2009 targets are set

Published 8 April 2009

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  • Up to 44 medals targeted at Olympic sports’ 2009 World Championships
  • Over 20 new high level appointments made as summer Olympic and Paralympic sports refocus on 2012

UK Sport’s latest analysis of Britain’s summer Olympic and Paralympic sports reflects the period of change, challenge and consolidation that has taken place since the turn of the year. Whilst unveiling the latest findings from ‘Mission 2012’, UK Sport also released details of the medal targets that have been agreed with sports at their respective 2009 World or European Championships, with up to 44 medals targeted at World level in Olympic sports and between 19 and 27 more in Paralympic events on the world stage.

Since the last Mission 2012 outputs in December, UK Sport has confirmed its funding for the London cycle (April 2009-March 2013) with total investment reaching £304 million. Furthermore, efforts to raise additional funds through the private sector have progressed through the establishment of Team 2012 – a partnership of LOCOG, the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association and UK Sport. Essentially, a lot of work has been happening ‘behind the scenes’, but as John Steele, UK Sport’s Chief Executive states, it’s now time to focus all energies on delivering:

“There have been unprecedented levels of action in terms of performance planning and getting funding agreements in place. Now is the time to refocus on to the track, pitch or wherever our athletes play their sport.

“It is inevitable that at the start of a new Olympic and Paralympic cycle there is always an element of consolidation and, where necessary, change with a number of new personnel both in terms of athletes and their support teams. This period is an important process to go through, it might be painful at times, but now we can start to really build towards 2012.”

Among the changes made by sports have been a significant number of senior appointments, notably at Performance Director (or equivalent) and Head Coach level. These have included: Charles Van Commenee (Athletics Head Coach); Kevin Hickey (Boxing Performance Director); Dennis Pursley (Swimming Head Coach); and Sara Symington (Archery Performance Director). UK Sport will be providing a detailed induction to the World Class Performance Programme for all recent senior appointments in the coming months.

“The quality of personnel being appointed across British sport is impressive and reflective of the fact that our sports are not resting on their laurels after Beijing,” said Steele. “Mission 2012 has highlighted leadership as a key factor in the continued success of our sports, so the induction we hold will be the start of a targeted leadership development initiative.”

The performance targets issued today are the first set of annual targets set between UK Sport and national governing bodies as part of their funding agreements. In most cases these show a medal range targeted by each funded sport at their particular World Championship event. Cycling has already delivered five medals in Olympic disciplines at the recent World Track Cycling Championships (towards a 2009 target across all Olympic disciplines of 5-10) and Steele believes their approach reflects the right balance between targeting medals now and building towards 2012:

“The performance targets for 2009 highlight the need to build on the success of Beijing with our established performers, and bring through those who have the potential to succeed in 2012. The World Track Cycling Championships are a good example. A much changed squad still included the likes of Victoria Pendleton who continued to underpin her status as a world leader but, equally as important, medals were won and encouraging performances put in by others who might not be such household names. At this stage of an Olympic cycle it’s not necessarily about topping the medal tables; it’s more about ensuring we’re best placed to deliver when it really matters in 2012.”

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