Neil Black predicts a golden Rio for Team GB

The four golds won in Beijing were a record at a World Championships for Team GB

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The Independent Online

Great Britain’s record-breaking performance at the World Championships is just the beginning, according to British Athletics performance director, Neil Black, who is predicting a medal rush at next year’s Olympics.

The four golds won in Beijing were a record at a World Championships for Team GB while their overall medal count of seven, which put them fourth in the standings, has been bettered only twice in their championship history – back in 1987 and 1993.

“I think we are going global,” said Black. “This is what we’re beginning to show. People like Laura Muir, Sophie Hitchon, Nick Miller and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, these are people who are ready to step up. That’s why I think this is the real beginnings of that journey towards Rio and [the next World Championships in] London 2017, where we expect many of those people who have done it before to do it again, but we’re going to have others who step up and I’m excited about that.”

UK Sport had set a medal target of six to eight for the World Championships but that is expected to rise for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which effectively goes to define the sport’s next round of Lottery funding.

Despite achieving the target and the four golds – two from Mo Farah and one apiece from Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford – there were still disappointments. Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s failure in the heptathlon and long jump was the most high profile, but Black said he was confident the 22-year-old would bounce back in Rio.

“Kat will have learnt massively from this,” he said. “She’ll be stronger and more experienced for it. She’s already been through the replanning process and learning process with Mike Holmes, her coach.”

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