On June 20th, UK Sports have revealed their highly ambitious medal targets for 2014 for their Road to Rio 2016 Olympic campaign, which are as follows:
- Olympic sports and athletes aiming to win between 90 and 120 medals at their most significant competitions in 2014
- Paralympic sports targeting between 108 and 153 medals at their milestone events in 2014
The nation’s high performance sports agency has put in place these crucial milestones as benchmark targets to hit in order to ensure the right support and investment is allocated to the correct areas.
Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said:
“UK Sport’s National Lottery funded sports and athletes have set some ambitious targets for the 2014 competitive season, which will be an important year for refining athlete development plans, training, preparation and performance strategies on the Road to Rio.
Bettering the historic London 2012 medal haul, and becoming the first nation to do so at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games post-hosting is a huge challenge but, our sports are well led and we feel confident of achieving our goal. I know that all our hugely dedicated athletes, committed coaches and expert practitioners are determined to make history in Rio in two years’ time.”
What does this mean with regards to hockey, especially after the England women’s team failed to reach into single figures with regards to the final standings of the Hockey World Cup 2014 in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the 3rd ranked ladies team in the world has now slipped down to 6th, but as the men narrowly missed out on a bronze controversially, their world ranking is currently at 5th.
UK Sports were hoping for the men to at least reach 6th place and the women finishing 4th, with the maximum expectation being that the England men finish 4th and the women leaving with a medal.
The men certainly achieved a great deal, hitting their maximum target, but with the women reaching 11th in the tournament, a shake up is pretty much a definite.
With this in mind, what is the role of Scotland and Wales with regards to Rio 2016’s hockey squads? Will head coaches be looking further afield to the Celtic nations in order to inject something completely different into the Team GB squad? All eyes will certainly be on the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow in July where the trio of nations will be battling against each other on the astro turf.
Rebuilding, rethinking and recuperation is certainly on the cards but with the Olympics only a mere 2 years away, there is some creative hockey coaching to be delivered in order to compete with the world’s best and capitalise on the bronze medal won at London 2012. The passion and the belief is already there, looking forward, learning and being brave are definitely some ingredients that will be scattered into the Rio 2016 hockey strategy.
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