Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Brits aim to stop Australia raining on Poms’ parade

Reuters, LONDON

Britain aims to finish at least fourth in the London 2012 medals table with a team budget of £13 million (US$20.8 million) to deny Australia the satisfaction of “raining on the Poms’ parade.”

British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt said on Tuesday that the budget worked out at £24,000 per athlete and £10,000 per delegation member.

The total squad will be more than 550 athletes, 450 support staff and 300 volunteers.

“Never before have we taken such a large delegation,” he said.

“We took a total delegation of around 550 to Beijing [in 2008] and look at the performance we achieved,” he said.

“Our mission is more medals from more sports in over a century,” he said.

Britain brought home 47 medals in 11 sports from Beijing and was fourth in the overall table. Australia won 46 medals, but took fewer golds and was sixth, behind Germany.

Hunt said it was too early to set a medals target, and one might never be set.

“Maintaining that fourth-place medal table aspiration is going to be tough,” he said.

Hunt said the budget compared to £8 million, excluding the cost of flights, for Beijing — equating to £26,000 per athlete four years ago.

“So roughly we are investing the same amount of money in London as we were in Beijing,” he said. “But you will see the scope of services to support the athletes and sports is unprecedented.”

Hunt said he had heard the Australians were planning to launch a campaign next year under the slogan “Rain on the Poms’ Parade.”

Jokingly reminding the audience that Britain was also “world class in the manufacture of umbrellas,” he said he looked forward to the renewal of the old rivalry.

“It’s going to be a great battle between us and Australia ... it started this morning,” he said.

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