Too much pressure for Britain’s Olympic hopes

From Neil Wilson, the Daily Mail
The British Olympic Association came under fire from within its own ranks yesterday for setting British athletics the target of finishing fourth in the London 2012 medals table.

The BOA target – which applies to all sports, but is considered unrealistic by senior figures at UK Athletics – was attacked by Max Jones, who sits on the national Olympic committee.

Jones, the sport’s former performance director, said the only way this could be achieved was by “waving a magic wand” and attacked the association for adding to the “already considerable pressure” on sports in Britain.

The embarrassing outburst came on the day Dave Colllins, Jones’ successor at UK Athletics, refused to raise his prediction of six medals at this week’s European indoor championships in spite of almost doubling the size of his team.

Jones said those who still expected athletics to contribute its customary six medals at Olympics were in a “state of denial”.

In fact, the BOA and UK Sport actually expect athletics to contribute two more in 2012.

“If we insist the target for UKA in 2012 is eight medals then I would ask the question “Has anybody got a magic wand?’,” Jones wrote in a personal column on the website

Jones, who retired after heading the athletics teams in the Sydney and Athens Olympics, said that putting pressure on Collins would lead to short-term measures when the sport needs long-term remedial initiatives. “Open criticism from outside agencies will only hinder that process,” he warned.

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