Britain aims to stop Oz raining on Poms` parade

London: Britain aims to finish at least fourth in the London 2012 medals table with a team budget of 13 million pounds (USD 20,839,000) to deny Australia the satisfaction of "raining on the Poms` parade".

British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive Andy Hunt told reporters that the budget worked out at 24,000 pounds per athlete and 10,000 per delegation member.

The total squad will be more than 550 athletes, 450 support staff and 300 volunteers.

"Never before have we taken such a large delegation," he said.

"We took a total delegation of around 550 to Beijing (in 2008) and look at the performance we achieved," he said at a briefing as organisers prepared for the fast-approaching one year to go mark.

"Our mission is more medals from more sports in over a century."

Britain brought home 47 medals in 11 sports from Beijing and was fourth in the overall table. Australia won 46 medals but took fewer golds and was sixth behind Germany.

Hunt said it was too early to set a medals target, and one might never be set.

"What we do know is it is going to be incredibly tough in London. Every Olympics Games, more nations medal. And we know that the winning margins are going to decrease," he added.

"It will be even closer in London and we have to recognise that. Maintaining that fourth place medal table aspiration is going to be tough."

Hunt said the budget compared to eight million pounds, excluding the cost of flights, for Beijing - equating to 26,000 pounds per athlete four years ago.

"So roughly we are investing the same amount of money in London as we were in Beijing," he added. "But you will see the scope of services to support the athletes and sports is unprecedented."

The money would be raised through a variety of means.

"I am totally confident that we have a plan in place that will deliver the funding required," he said.

Hunt said he had heard the Australians were planning to launch a campaign next year under the slogan "Rain on the Poms` parade".

Jokingly reminding the audience that Britain was also "world class in the manufacture of umbrellas", he looked forward to the renewal of the old rivalry.

"It`s going to be a great battle between us and Australia, it started this morning," he said.

Bureau Report

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