Basketball is among a handful of sports that have been told they will not be expected to win medals for Great Britain at major championships by the national agency that controls funding.
UK Sport have set out a number of targets in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics Games - with cycling and rowing handed the toughest assignments.
However basketball - along with handball, judo, volleyball and hockey - have been asked to deliver on other criteria with qualification for GB's men and women at the European Championship deemed a more realistic proposition.
UK Sport sets medal ranges with sports as part of their funding agreement and to benchmark the progress each sport is making on the world stage. Based on reasoned analysis and evidence, they highlight both the best possible outcome at an agreed event for the coming year in terms of athlete performance, and the point below which the sport will judge itself to have under-performed.
The announcement came as the latest set of ‘Mission 2012’ submissions, which track the latest state of play across all areas of the UK high performance system, indicated continued positive progression towards London 2012. Fifteen sports were rated as ‘green’ overall (nine Olympic and six Paralympic), and no sports were on ‘red’ on the tracker boards held at UK Sport’s London headquarters. UK Sport’s Mission 2012 system is now over two years old and is starting to make a significant difference in terms of identifying issues and problems faced by sports, and finding solutions to overcome them.
John Steele, UK Sport’s Chief Executive, said: “The targets we have agreed with the sports are challenging but are indicative of the gradual increase in momentum towards London 2012. On paper, it is impossible to compare with the target of the previous 12 months as there are fewer World Championships in 2010, so the targets include European Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Cups in a number of sports. However, we know that if these targets are achieved they will signify a stepping up in performances and further progression towards achieving our overall aspirations in 2012. Having such targets in places allows us and the sports to chart this progress and are a well-established part of any successful high performance sport system.
“Over the course of the summer season we will hit the half-way point between Beijing and London – which psychologically starts to sharpen the mind even more. Mission 2012 is generally showing us that the sports are on track in terms of their systems and structures, and the overall picture this paints is encouraging.
“It is essential this continues and indeed further improves if we are to achieve our performance aspirations in 2012. That is where the true value of Mission 2012 comes into its own by continuing to ensure that the sports scrutinise their own operations, raise any issues and work with UK Sport and its partners to overcome potential obstacles.”