GB Handball coach Dragan Djukic denies Russian interest

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter

Head coach Dragan Djukic says he will not leave British Handball before London 2012external-link, despite appearing on the shortlistexternal-link for the Russia team.

Djukic, who joined the British set-up in 2009external-link, claims his agent applied for the role on his behalf.

"I have never left any team before the job is finished," said Djukic.

"I have had calls from all over the world about next season, but I am focused on the final preparations for the Olympics."

Great Britain's men's team have only won two major international matchesexternal-link under Djukic's leadership and, after a crushing World Championship qualification defeat at home to Austria in January, captain Bobby White said the team needed to 'step up' to avoid an Olympic whitewash.

Djukic admitted his frustrations with the British men's programme, which unlike the women's set-up sees athletes playing for clubs sides across the continent, meaning there are few opportunities for them to train together as a group.

"Sixty days per year is not enough for a team to prepare for an Olympics, but when you are disappointed you have to check your budget and realise that is the problem," Djukic told BBC Sport in January.

However, the Serbian insists that progress is now being made and that he is happy in the role.

"I have been with the British team for four years and I'm staying here, there is no question of that," said Djukic.

"If British Handball continues the project, the next stage is preparing for Rio in 2016, and if there is an opportunity to continue I may stay to finish the job."

Djukic is one of nine candidates linked to the Russian handball head coach role, which was vacated by Vladimir Maksimov last month after a poor performance at the European Championships saw them fail to qualify for London 2012.

British Handball performance director, Lorraine Brown, added: "As Great Britain coach Dragan Djukic is contracted up until the Olympic Games and we are equally committed to each other in preparing the GB men's team.

"We have a very clear plan to prepare the GB men's team towards their participation in the London Olympic Games, and for the GB men to be best prepared."