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Cricket guru Simon Timson given Rio role


Simon Timson, one of the men behind England's rise to No 1 in cricket's Test rankings, has been given the task of overseeing Britain's attempt to improve on their London medal haul at the Rio Olympics.

Timson has been chosen to succeed Peter Keen as director of performance for UK Sport. Keen, a former cyclist, played an integral part in laying the foundation for first British cycling to dominate at the Games and then Britain as a whole. In London Britain finished third in the medal table with 65 medals. UK Sport has already stated the aim in Rio in 2016 is to increase that total and it will fall to Timson to see the target is met.

Timson is head of the England development programme and science and medicine at the England and Wales Cricket Board and has been credited by Michael Vaughan among others for helping put in place a structure that has led to notable improvements in the England team.

Timson looked to basketball and baseball to introduce talent identification polices at the ECB. UK Sport has also sought to boost its talent id schemes in recent years with an unprecedented number of athletes expected to graduate from them in time for Rio. Before joining the ECB, Timson helped make British Skeleton the UK’s most successful Winter Olympic sport.

Timson, who will take up the post in January, said: “I’m delighted to be taking up this significant leadership role within UK Sport at such an exciting time, with such a strong performance in London to build upon. I feel confident the system possesses the knowledge, expertise and tools required to sustain success into the future and will be looking to the lessons learned from the London cycle to see where there is room for improvement.”

Keen had been in the post for eight years. He went part-time in May and will continue to play a role as an advisor. He is also instructing the Rugby Football Union on how England’s performance could be improved.