Olympic chief Hunt buoyed by triathlon and beach volleyball

BRITISH Olympic chief Andy Hunt believes he has seen evidence over the summer that Team GB is on target to achieve its goals after formally announcing the nation’s first athletes for London 2012.

Three-time gold medal winner Ben Ainslie topped a bill of 11 sailors and windsurfers who Hunt yesterday revealed as the inaugural members of Team GB for next summer’s sporting extravaganza.

Hopes are high for sailing, in which Britain has the tradition and history of success that might be expected from an island nation, and which is expected to provide at least four medals.

But Hunt has been encouraged that Team GB will meet its target of fourth place in the medal table by recent performances in less traditional British specialities, such as triathlon and beach volleyball.

Team GB did not achieve anything in the triathlon at the last Games, but Alistair Brownlee and Helen Jenkins are both newly-crowned world champions, while Brownlee’s brother Jonathan was runner-up.

“There are some good examples from the summer – the standout being the triathlon. We didn’t medal in Beijing, which was a great disappointment, but going into the Games we’ve got two world champions and a No2,” Hunt told City A.M.

“Another great example from the summer is Denise Johns and Lucy Bolton in the beach volleyball. They came into the test event in London ranked 54th in the world but beat the fourth-ranked Chinese pair and reached the semi-finals. You saw the crowd get behind those athletes and they performed extraordinarily.”

He added: “I think we’re on target when you look at all performances.”

Britain’s athletes had a mixed world championships last month but Hunt said: “They met their target. We’d all like more, but under the leadership of Charles van Commenee they’re looking in good shape.”