Team GB athletes will not be set strict medal targets at the Tokyo Olympics due to Covid-19… after sports data company Gracenote predicted Britain’s stars would flop this summer
Team GB stars will not be subjected to strict medal targets at the Tokyo Olympics following a shift in approach caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
UK Sport, the elite sport funding agency, traditionally set a minimum medal target for each Olympic sport going into a Games, which can affect their funding for the next Olympic cycle.
However, that stance will be softened for Tokyo as the number of competitions that have been cancelled by Covid-19 has made it harder to predict results and set goals.
Team GB stars will not be subjected to strict medal targets at the Tokyo Olympics
Team GB chef de mission Mark England said: ‘We won’t put a target on a team and I don’t think UK Sport will either.
‘The past 12 months has given an opportunity for young athletes to be stronger and put themselves in contention.
‘But it has been very obvious that any competition data in terms of where we stand against our main competitors across the world really isn’t there.’
Sports data company Gracenote predicted in April that Team GB would win only 36 medals in Tokyo and finish a lowly seventh in the medal table.
Team GB chef de mission Mark England said the lack of any competition data means it is unclear where they stand against their main competitors
Britain’s athletes took home 67 medals at Rio 2016, smashing UK Sport’s target of 48
That would be well down on their second place at Rio 2016, when they exceeded UK Sport’s target of 48 gongs by taking home 67.
In February 2018, UK Sport announced a target range of 54 to 92 medals for Tokyo, however the pandemic has thrown everything up in the air.
Funding for the build-up to Paris 2024 would usually have been based on performances at Tokyo, but with the Olympics having been pushed back by a year, sports have already been allocated their money from a pot of £352million.
UK Sport will reveal next month how they intend to measure success at Tokyo but the agency’s chair Dame Katherine Grainger admitted: ‘The big discussion is what we do around the targets because we have always based them in the past on the performances in the lead up to the Games.
‘These Games we have seen some qualification events but most have been cancelled. We are discussing it with the sports and the sports themselves have targets in mind.
‘But how far we go to publishing them, we are still in discussion. It might be an unhealthy distraction to a lot of the sports at this point.’
UK Sport’s agency chair Dame Katherine Grainger (left), pictured alongside Christine Ohuruogu, said publishing targets could be an unhealthy distraction