Golden pledge: I'll quit if we don't win eight medals, says athletics chief
By Jonathan McEvoy
3 July 2012
Charles van Commenee has promised to resign if the British athletics team he named on Tuesday fail at the Olympic Games.
The Dutch head coach of UK Athletics has set the 77-strong squad a target of eight medals including one gold, having won seven medals at last year’s World Championships.
Van Commenee, who was brought to Britain to shake the sport out of its lethargy after the Beijing Olympics four years ago, was asked if he would step down from his £250,000-a-year job if his project fails.
‘Absolutely,’ he replied. ‘It’s quite simple. I’ll tell you why. Because if I didn’t, I’d lose my credibility.
Making his pledge: Charles van Commenee says the athletes should win at least eight medals.
‘If I hold athletes and coaches accountable every day, how could I work over the next four years if I am not held accountable myself? It’s a no-brainer. I never understand when people who have failed stay in jobs, as in politics and football.’
Van Commenee, 54, added that a different but weighty number of medals — ‘such as seven golds or 15 medals with no golds’ — would also be sufficient to stay in the post.
‘Targets are a matter of accountability and help you decide how to use your resources,’ he said. ‘It is why we put money towards world champions like Mo Farah and Dai Greene rather than spread it out evenly. Targets are a technical tool.’
Van Commenee was facing criticism on Twitter from some of the rejected athletes. He had promised not to include no-hopers to make up numbers and lived up to his hard-man reputation by leaving out Jenny Meadows, the 2009 world bronze medallist from the 800 metres.
He instead opted for promising 21-year-old Lynsey Sharp, who, unlike Meadows and three others, has not run the A standard qualifying time. However, she did win the trials.
The omission of Richard Kilty from the 200m and the relay teams also provoked controversy, because he has run the A standard twice. The sprinter tweeted that he would be appealing.
‘They have something personal against me,’ he claimed.