Head coach Charles van Commenee may still quit Team GB despite four golds

Van Commenee will consider his position after athletes fail to hit target of eight medals

For Charles van Commenee, life is a beach. Having spent the past three and a half years pushing Britain's track-and-field athletes towards a home Olympic target of eight medals (including one gold) and watched his runners, jumpers and throwers fall two gongs short, the head coach of UK Athletics is heading for a sandy shore in the Caribbean to consider his future.

The Dutchman always said he would walk away if he failed to succeed in his eight-medal mission but his bosses at the domestic governing body – chief executive Niels de Vos and chairman Ed Warner – have both asked him to renew his contract, which expires in December. So, for good measure, has Lord Coe.

The medal tally might not have stacked up to the best since 1984, which had been Van Commenee's personal target (UK Sport's official target was "between five and eight"), but the haul of four golds was the most since Tokyo in 1964. It left the British team in the not-to-be-sniffed-at position of fourth in the athletics medal table, behind Jamaica, the United States and Russia.

"It's a weird situation," Van Commenee said. "I don't make the target and then people ask me to stay. I'm flattered. I'll think about it over the next three weeks.

"I have taken advice from the chief executive and the board and a few of my very best friends to go on a holiday first and think about it rationally rather than emotionally.

"I feel like I want to jump on a plane tonight, because I am tired, and so that's what I will do.

"You won't see me at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting [on 26 August]. I'll be lying on my back, probably somewhere in the Caribbean with a cigar.

"What is really important now is what is best for the programme. It's not about what is best for Charles. It's about what is best for British athletics and that's what needs to be looked into very carefully. "

Asked if he would be in any way undermined if he stayed in his post, Van Commenee replied: "Yeah – because that was the whole point of what I said before [about leaving if the target was not met]. Credibility is a big thing for somebody leading a programme. Another big factor for me in agreeing that I should go on a break first is that today we should be celebrating the glory of what the athletes have achieved. There's a time and a place for the future."

Van Commenee denied rumours that his future would be leading the home track-and-field team, Brazil, at the 2016 Games in Rio. "I've heard that Michael Johnson said that on TV," he said. "The answer is no."

Reflecting on the home performance in London, Van Commenee said: "I have mixed emotions. We haven't met the target that was set but at the same time we provided some awesome athletics and some iconic moments that will remain forever with the British nation, which fills me with pride.

"Four gold medals is exceptional and fourth in the medal table is something which we usually don't reach. We had some really good youngsters knocking on the door who produced something but couldn't follow it up.

"Mixed means I am frustrated partially and I am partially embarrassed – especially when it comes to relays. I'm partially very proud too.

"As a sport, we are back on the map – not only because of the performances but also because of how we present ourselves in a more professional manner. So it would be a shame to lose certain people. But, in the end, everyone is replaceable."

Falling short: Britain's medal haul

What he wanted

Charles van Commenee said he wanted eight track-and-field medals from these Games, inclu-ding at least one gold. UK Sport demanded slightly less, asking for "between five and eight medals".

What he got

Team GB delivered six medals, made up of four golds (Mo Farah in 5,000m and 10,000m, Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford in the long jump), one silver (Christine Ohuruogu, 400m) and one bronze (Robbie Grabarz, high jump).

Suggested Topics
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments