By Mike Rowbottom in London
March 10 - Britain’s overall performance at the recent winter Olympics in Vancouver was disappointing, officials at UK Sport admitted today.
John Steele, UK Sport’s chief executive, said that despite delight at the gold Amy Williams (pictured) won in the skeleton - which attracted a third of UK’s winter sport funding - the failure to win any other medal at a Games where there was a stretch target of three was "in some regards disappointing."
Speaking at today’s announcement of 2010 UK medal targets - between 14-31 in global events, and between 53-67 in European or Commonwealth competition - he added that UK Sport would be holding de-briefing talks with the sports involved next month.
"We knew what we were trying to achieve, but we fell short of it," he said.
"We will now look to find out what happened."
Peter Keen, UK Sport’s performance advisor, commented: "We were a bit disappointed.
"There were more bullets in the gun than hit the target.
"You could even say, if you were being rigorous, that there were more there that were missed in the skeleton event."
But Keen was upbeat about boxing, a sport riven with organisational and financial problems in Britain over the last few years, which he believes has started to punch its weight.
Keen said that boxing - which before the Beijing Games was in UK Sport’s red category, indicating serious problems - had been the sport within the World Class Lottery programme which had most improved itself.
"Boxing has probably travelled the furthest," said Keen, who masterminded British cycling’s breakthrough at the 2000 Sydney Olympics before turning his talents to a wider spectrum of sport.
"The boxers delivered in Beijing, but there have been many other issues of concern."
He added that visiting the new elite squad boxing centre in Sheffield was "inspirational", and that Derek Mapp, the businessman whose controversial appointment as chairman of the newly constituted British Amateur Boxing Association was swiftly followed by the dismissal of the popular Terry Edwards (pictured with Amir Khan) as coach, was directing a world class programme.
"Boxing is standing on a platform unrecognisable from two years ago," Keen said.
"I am really excited about where it can go on to now. It has transformed itself through a lot of hard work and difficult decisions."
Steele said that 2010 was likely to be a more useful guide to Olympic prospects than 2009, as many sports had taken the opportunity to experiment with new competitors and teams in the year after the Beijing Games.
"On paper, it is impossible to compare with the target of the previous 12 months as there are fewer World Championships in 2010, so the targets include European Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Cups in a number of sports."
Swimming has been given a target of 35 medals from its main competition of the year, the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Athletics will be expected to provide between 10-15 medals from the European Championships in Barcelona.
Britain’s cyclists are expected to bring back between five to 10 medals from this year’s World Championships, while the rowers have been set a target of three to five medals from their global event.
Volleyball, handball, judo and hockey have all been set targets below medal level.
Britain’s Paralympians have been set an overall target of 64-99 medals, with swimming expected to contribute the largest share – between 40-50 - and cycling the next, with a target of eight to 14.
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February 2010: UK Sport to launch review after Britain falls short of medal target