London Games: Britain targets 48 Olympic medals across 12 sports

AP, Wednesday 4 Jul 2012

Despite an injection of more than 300 million pounds in funding and the benefits of home advantage, Britain's official medal target for the London Olympics is only one higher than its total haul at the Beijing Games in 2008

The host nation said Wednesday that its aim is to win at least 48 medals across at least 12 sports, adding that it was sticking to the long-held goal of finishing in the top four in the overall table.

Britain won 47 medals across 11 sports in 2008 - finishing fourth behind China, the United States and Russia.

"Since Beijing, the performance system has stepped up another gear and we really believe that the nation will be inspired this summer by our athletes winning more medals in more sports," said Liz Nicholl, chief executive of UK Sport.

It is only a modest increase, however, considering UK Sport has pumped 312 million ($486 million) of National Lottery funding into British Olympic sports since 2008. Britain also won 50 Olympic-category medals in world championships in 2011.

The government-run UK Sport said Britain could win as many as 70 medals if the team performs at its best. Its minimum expected medal haul is 40, which would leave the hosts vulnerable to being overtaken by Australia and Germany - their likely challengers for fourth place.

Men's and women's football wasn't included in the calculations.

"The system would have underperformed if we achieve 40 medals," said Nicholl, adding that "the number of medals is more important than where we finish in the table."

Cycling is predicted to be Britain's most successful sport, with six to 10 medals expected from a star-studded squad that includes Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish. Swimming, athletics and rowing - three more heavily funded sports - are expected to produce at least five medals each.

Britain isn't expected to medal in seven sports - basketball, handball, synchronized swimming, table tennis, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting and wrestling.

"The majority of people will judge the success of this event not on how smoothly the transport system runs but where we are in the medals table," British sports minister Hugh Robertson said.

"UK Sport has done everything to put Team GB on the start line in the best possible condition."

Britain isn't targeting the number of gold medals it will win.

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