Countdown On British Hopes

Athletes made accountable as new ratings aim to boost medals
By David Powell,,7713-2222401,00.html

New athletics ratings aim to boost medals

ATHLETES are to be marked out of ten, and their ratings made public, in an attempt by the Great Britain management to get the best out of their team at the European Championships in Gothenburg in August.

Furthermore, the squad may be the youngest for years with a new selection policy that could drop established names for rising talent.

Dave Collins, the UK Athletics (UKA) performance director, said that a “nightly review” would be released in which athletes would be scored, mainly on performance compared against expectation.

In theory, an athlete who finishes sixth, but better than predicted, would score more than a bronze medal-winner pencilled in for gold.

Naming and shaming, or naming and praising, Collins is determined, after a shocking World Championships for Britain in Helsinki last year, that athletes and coaches should be held accountable.

“It is important that an athlete and coach know what is expected of them and know how they have done,” Collins said, “and we should tell them what we think of them on the spot.

“If I am a manager of any team, surely all my players, my athletes, my people, should know what I think of them. That is the point of performance management. It is not me laying down goals but goals we have talked through. We are not in there just judging people, we want to be in there helping them.”

Collins has set a target of ten medals for Gothenburg, compared with 14 won at the last European Championships, in Munich in 2002.

Of more concern to Collins is that it is a team seen to be on the up with the 2008 Beijing Olympics in mind.

To that end, selection has been tweaked. As before, the first two from each event in the trials are guaranteed a place, subject to attaining the UKA elite qualifying standard.

However, UKA has introduced a lesser qualifying “development standard” under which athletes with potential might be favoured.

As an example, the established Darren Campbell, could finish third in the 100 metres trial, achieving the elite standard, but lose out to the promising youngster, Craig Pickering, who finished fifth, achieving the development standard.