Britain’s Olympians and Paralympians are returning to competition this year with encouraging evidence that the success of Beijing is being built on, according to the latest outputs from UK Sport’s Mission 2012 assessment programme.
With the summer competition season now in full swing, this ‘mid term’ assessment shows that in the build up to London 2012, nine Olympic and five Paralympic sports are registered as overall ‘green’ on the Mission 2012 Tracker Board, with 17 and 12 ‘amber’ respectively. Only two sports – handball and sitting volleyball – have a ‘red’ rating that suggests significant change is required if performance is to be maximised ahead of the home Games.
For handball in particular, this is specifically related to the challenges faced as a result of being placed on ‘basic’ funding for the London cycle. Handball’s Mission 2012 submission also highlighted the key issue of facilities with a lack of suitable training and competitive venues hampering its progress.
Commenting on the results, John Steele, UK Sport’s Chief Executive, said:
“By the end of the month there will be only three years to go until the London Games and I think we can be satisfied with where we’re at. Our sports and athletes have now re-focused after Beijing and it has been very refreshing over the past month or so not only to see our summer Olympians and Paralympians back in action but competing well against international opposition.”
“Mission 2012 provides an invaluable snapshot of how each sport is performing in all aspects of their operations. It allows sports to identify any particular challenges and issues they are facing which in turns provides us with the opportunity to provide or help find solutions before they take hold. This is key as time is flying by and London will be here before we know it so any barriers to optimum performance must be removed.”
Through Mission 2012, sports assess their activities across three core areas of work – Athletes; System; and Climate. A traffic light rating is provided for each area, along with their World Class Performance Programme as a whole. This analysis takes place three times a year with the outputs plotted on a Mission 2012 Tracker Board housed at UK Sport’s HQ in Central London. The whole process is overseen by two Panels (one Olympic, one Paralympic) which look across all sports to identify particular themes that are arising across the high performance system.
Positive outcomes from two such themes that were highlighted at previous Panel discussions are:
- Leadership – A review of the first set of 2009 submissions highlighted the number of new high performance staff in the UK system. With that in mind, UK Sport recently hosted a one-day workshop to introduce new sports leaders to the British sporting landscape, UK Sport and how the organisation supports World Class Programmes within National Governing Bodies.
- Paralympic Talent ID – A number of sports has expressed the need to recruit more athletes ahead of 2012. To address this, a Paralympic specialist has been added to the UK Sport Talent team and a specific Paralympic Talent ID strategy is being developed ready for implementation later this year.
The next Mission 2012 update will occur in November in the shape of a thorough end of year review. This will include an assessment of achievements against the annual medal targets set in April.