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De Vos Looking for Further Improvement From British Team

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Dave Collins with Nicola Sanders, and Stephanie Twell
UK Athletics (UKA) today outlined their expectations for the 2007 summer season which commences in earnest in four days time at the Norwich Union Glasgow Grand Prix.

Chief Executive Niels de Vos, who took up post at the start of the month said: “Following our success at the European Indoor Championships in March, where the Norwich Union Great Britain & Northern Ireland team topped the medal table, it is vital that the team translate that success to the outdoor arena. Progress in performance and rankings must be the barometer on which our success is measured.


“The improvements Dave Collins has put in place at the elite end of British athletics are beginning to bear fruit, we must now keep our foot to the floor and ensure potential and promise translates into success on the world stage.


“This Norwich Union GB & NI team is a young team and the curve of progress is aimed squarely at London 2012. We make no apology for that. However, this summer’s World Championships in Osaka will be a crucial proving ground and we must measure progress in hard currency of medals and finalists, as well as in improved individual performances. Our target therefore is to achieve a minimum of fourteen finalists with three medals. This will reflect a doubling of the number of finalists at the last Worlds in Helsinki in 2005.


“Outside of our World Championship team, we expect to see our Juniors, who secured 5 medals at their World Championships last summer, make the transition through to seniors, and for the generation for whom 2012 will be their first major global challenge to deliver breakthrough performances at the World Youth Championships in Ostrava.


“Athletics has missed a generation of talent since the retirement of Backley, Jackson, Edwards etc. and we are having to play catch up for Osaka and Beijing. We have set ourselves demanding but realistic objectives whilst recognising we still have much to do before elite athletics is where we want it to be on a world stage.


“Looking ahead to the weekend, we must recognise the important role played by the Norwich Union televised event series. They give the public the chance to see World Class athletes, and give our team the chance to compete at the highest level – vital preparation for the major international championships. In 2004 Kelly Holmes raced in all of the televised events as part of her preparations for Athens 2004 and we will be using this summer’s series to fine tune athlete preparation for Osaka.


(Pictured: European Indoor 400m champion Nicola Sanders, UK Athletics Performance Director Dave Collins, and European Junior Cross Country champion Stephanie Twell, who joined Niels de Vos and Ed Warner at today's press conference to discuss plans for the summer season.)