By Duncan Mackay

Christine Ohuruogu with British flag in Osaka 2007March 14 - British sport has been set the target of winning more medals this year to help set-up them for next year's Olympics and Paralympics than at the equivalent point before the 2008 Games in Beijing, when Team GB enjoyed their best ever overseas performance.

A range of 30 to 61 medals is targeted at World Championships this year by Olympic sports, and 34 to 52 by their Paralympic counterparts, Government agency UK Sport revealed today.

In 2007, 42 medals were won in Olympic disciplines at World Championships, including by Christine Ohuruogu (pictured), who won the 400 metres at the World Athletics Championships, and while direct comparisons cannot be made in Paralympic sports due to differing competition schedules, 37 were won at Paralympic World Championships.

That was the launchpad for Britain's outsanding performance in Beijing where they won a record 47 medals, including 19 gold, to finish fourh overall in the medals table.

"British athletes are among the best funded and supported in the world, with record levels of investment through to London 2012," said Liz Nicholl, the chief executive of UK Sport.

"So it is encouraging that, with 500 days to go to the home Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, sports continue to show ambition and confidence in what can be collectively achieved.

"We know that improving on the performances in Beijing is a tough ask and won't be easy.

"Medals are not the only means by which performance should be judged and progress assessed.

"None the less they are the bottom line in high performance sport, and the total of the medal targets we have agreed with sports announced today provide us with positive evidence that the momentum we have seen since Beijing continues as we head towards one of the biggest moments for British sport in all our lifetimes."

There are 19 Olympic sports with World Championships taking place this year.

Nine Paralympic sports will be competing at World Championships in 2011, with others focusing on European Championships or equivalent international competitions. 

"The 2011 medal target is higher than the equivalent before the Beijing Games and is an important marker for London 2012," said Hugh Robertson, the Sport and Olympics Minister.

"With the funding for our top athletes confirmed after the Comprehensive Spending Review, Olympic and Paralympic sport is in good shape.

"So it is right that the targets for both the sport national governing bodies and the athletes are challenging 16 months out from a home Olympics."

UK Sport are next month due to unveil the latest set of 'Mission 2012' submissions, which track the current state of play across all areas of the UK high performance system and progression towards London 2012, presented on the tracker boards held at UK Sport's London headquarters.

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