The best is yet to come
The best is yet to come
English Institute of Sport's (EIS) Director of Sport Science, Dr Ken van Someren, says the Government's decision to maintain current funding levels have reduced fears of a decline in Great Britain's performance as the next Olympic and Paralympic cycles to Rio 2016 begins.
Although previous Games suggest host nations struggle to emulate their success in the years following their home Olympics and Paralympics, van Someren is adamant British Olympic and Paralympic Sport will be one to buck the trend as the organisation shows evident willingness to improve.
"There were concerns that Britain could lose a lot of the talent we've built up in the last decade," van Someren told BBC Sport.
"We are a young organisation, we are still learning. But we're confident our system can't be beaten and it's still improving."
An example of following decline are Australia, who only managed 10th place in the London 2012 medal table, having finished fourth when they hosted the Games in 2000.
The Australian Olympic Committee's Kitty Chiller believes the team has since been a victim of its own success.
"People have looked at what we did before Sydney in 2000 and they have learned from that," Chiller said.
"Maybe we have just stagnated a little bit. We need to jump ahead again."
When the English Institute of Sport was introduced in 2000, van Someren says they followed the model of their Australian counterpart and quickly made alterations so the organisation would work in England.
In its 10th year the Institute proudly boasts a nationwide network of 250 sport science and medicine practitioners and other support staff, and van Someren is certain standards will continue to rise as the current crop of top-quality staff continue to develop.
"The key has been having the resources to do the job properly," he added. "We work with world-class athletes so our coaches and doctors should be of that calibre, too.
"We've got more than 60 physios and 55 strength and conditioning coaches, but if we have needed to bring in a lower-back specialist from Russia because he is the best in the world, we have."
Dr Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at the EIS further reinforced van Someren's confidence as planning gets underway for Rio 2016.
“The EIS prides itself in working in a multi-disciplinary fashion. Both reactive and proactive care is discussed across medicine, strength and conditioning, physiology, physiotherapy, psychology and nutrition etc as normal daily practice and it is this network of expertise which is important to retain and develop going forward.
“Our injury and illness audit system has shown that on average athletes lose 7 days of training due to illness and 17 days due to injury. But those athletes with most support from multidisciplinary teams do better than this. Our aim over the next cycle is to allow athletes to train for more weeks without injury or illness. This requires close cooperation with sporting bodies and integrated multi-disciplinary teams from the home country sports institutes.”
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