Rio 2016: Great Britain medal target set for Olympics & Paralympics

Jessica Ennis-Hill
Jessica Ennis-Hill won gold in the heptathlon at London 2012

Team GB have been set a target of making Rio 2016 their most successful overseas Olympics by winning 48 medals.

UK Sport has invested £350m of public money into elite sport since 2012 and says it could win as many as 79 medals when the Games begin on 5 August.

GB finished with 65 medals at London 2012, surpassing its previous best of 47 at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

UK Sport wants at least 121 Paralympic medals to beat the London 2012 total, setting the target range as 113-165.

Paralympics GB won 120 medals (34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze) four years ago.

Liz Nicholl, UK Sport chief executive, said there was an "aspirational goal" to surpass both Olympic and Paralympic medal tallies from London 2012, but that it would be "incredibly challenging".

She added: "Those of us who were in London felt the impact of medal success on the whole nation. We felt the pride and how it brought people together like never before and it's something that was very significant which made people proud to be British, so there's a real opportunity that our athletes can do the same in Rio."

UK Sport director of performance Simon Timson previously said if the "stars align and things go perfectly", 79 Olympic medals is the maximum GB could win.

Team GB have selected 246 athletes so far, with the final number expected to be around the 350 mark.

Who is in the Team GB squad?

Timson told BBC Sport: "We felt a real need to galvanise and unite everyone in the high performance system behind a really ambitious medal target hence the aspiration to be more successful than we were in London.

"Of course as we've gone through that process over four years we've refined and honed the medal targets with each of the sports and the new insight that we have from a range of sources is that it's going to be a real stretch - 66 medals is still within range and it is possible but we know it's not probable. It's more realistic to target a historic best-ever away Games and better than Beijing."

In their home Games four years ago, Team GB finished third in the medals table behind USA and China with 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze.

Sport statistics company Infostrada are forecasting GB will finish fourth in the Olympics Rio 2016 medal table with 51 - 18 gold, 16 silver and 17 bronze.

No host country has ever improved on its medal tally at the next summer Games.

Tim Hollingsworth, British Paralympic Association chief, said it was sending its "most competitive team ever to the most competitive Paralympic Games ever".

He described the medal target as an "ambitious one".

GB medals in 2012
Great Britain finished third in the medal table at London 2012, with 65 medals

GB won six athletics medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including golds for Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis-Hill. UK Sport has raised the medal target for Rio to between seven and nine.

Cycling, one of British sport's so-called 'medal factories', produced 12 medals at the 2012 Olympic Games, but UK Sport expects between eight and 10 in Rio. London gold medallists Bradley Wiggins and Laura Trott are part of a 27-strong team.

Timson said he had confidence in the sport delivering medals despite the recent resignation of British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton amid claims of sexism and discrimination towards elite cyclists.

"It's been well documented in recent months that cycling have had a few bumps in the road but they have responded very quickly," Timson said.

"They're creating a good environment which we think will lead to a lot of wonderful performances from our Olympic and Paralympic cyclists."

Another prolific 2012 sport, rowing, brought nine London Olympic medals and UK sport predict between six and eight this time.

Tennis and golf - which are not funded by UK Sport - have been set medal targets of between one and two Olympic medals.

Andy Murray won singles gold and mixed doubles silver with Laura Robson in 2012, while golf is back in the Olympics for the first time since 1904.

The GB team is Danny Willett, Justin Rose, Charley Hull and Catriona Matthew, while the sport has seen a number of its top stars pull out of the Games - citing concerns about the Zika virus.

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