Olympics: Lack of depth threatens Britain's chances

Great Britain rely too heavily on a handful of star athletes and will struggle to match their medal haul from London 2012 at the Rio Olympics, according to Darren Campbell.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:43 pm

The Olympic gold medallist fears the GB team will contain few athletes capable of rising to the occasion and picking up unexpected medals. Britain will once again look to the competitors who won gold four years ago to lead their podium charge in August, with Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah, and Greg Rutherford all out to defend their titles. Campbell believes there is a lack of strength in depth.

Campbell said: “Rio is going to be a pressure-cooker atmosphere. It won’t be like being at home and they’re going to have to step up.

“I feel we have the talent, but only time will tell. I think it’s going to be a lot more difficult.

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“I think it’s very easy to put all your eggs in one basket and things go wrong. I think there’s a lot of pressure on a few athletes, rather than there being a lot of pressure on all the athletes.

“We’ve got a lot of talented young athletes, and then we’ve got a couple of athletes who are experienced, have been around a long time and know what it takes to win medals.

“Where’s that middle area, those people that should make finals and maybe can pick up a medal that you just don’t expect?

“Nobody expected me to win Olympic silver in 2000 (in the 200m in Sydney).

“You’ve got the established names, but it’s those names where you go, ‘Look, they always make finals, so it could be their time’, it’s those people I’m worried about.

“Have we got enough of those people who on the biggest stage could do something absolutely crazy?”

Places on the team for Rio will be up for grabs in Birmingham this weekend as the Alexander Stadium hosts the British Championships.

Britain’s athletes won six medals at London 2012, with silver from Christine Ohuruogu in the 400m and bronze from Robbie Grabarz in the high jump adding to the two golds won by Farah in the 5,000m and 10,000m and the one each for Ennis-Hill and Rutherford in the heptathlon and long jump respectively.

Campbell, who won sprint relay gold in Athens 12 years ago, believes matching that haul will be tough.

“This kind of puts it in perspective. No female British Olympian has ever retained their Olympic gold medal, so we are talking about Jess having to do something that no British female Olympian has ever done. That’s for one gold,” said Campbell, whose company Pro Athlete Supplementation is the official sports nutrition supplier for Premier League champions Leicester.

“Mo’s in exceptional form, so what we’re hoping is that Mo Farah doesn’t get injured and there could be two.

“If everything works out right - five, six medals, I think they’ve done very well.”