UK chief sets sights high

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee has stressed the 13th World Championships, which get under way today, are not just a “stepping stone” to next year’s London Olympics.

Van Commenee has set a target of seven medals from the nine days of competition in Daegu, one more than in Berlin two years ago and one less than the goal in London next year. And the 53-year-old is optimistic the upward trend will continue in South Korea, even if Britain might have to wait for a flurry of medals on the final day of competition.

“We’ve had a good year so far,” Van Commenee said. “Of course, we want to see confirmation of the trend here at the World Championships in Daegu. We’re in the sport to be the best in the world, so World Championships are very relevant for us. It’s not just a stepping stone to London. It is a serious event that all our athletes are prepared for.

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“The last day is a big day with realistically four medal shots (Mo Farah in the 5,000 metres, Phillips Idowu in the triple jump, Jenny Meadows in the 800m and the men’s 4x100m relay). I’ve already mentioned that our target is to win seven medals so with four serious shots on the last day, internally it is our duty to keep that in mind and not to draw any conclusions too early.”