Clock against us, says Woodward

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The Independent Online

Sir Clive Woodward has defended his role as Team GB's performance director, although he has admitted that Britain needs to quickly "crank up" a number of Olympic sports. A year into the job, Woodward told BBC Sport that the "clock is seriously ticking". He was speaking after the BBC canvassed opinion from all the Olympic sports and of 28 national performance directors, of which 18 said he had made no impact so far.

Woodward said he was not shocked by the findings, adding: "Some sports don't need touching but we've got to crank up other sports and we've got to do it quickly. There are some fantastic programmes out there – cycling, rowing, sailing, but there are a lot of sports that we're going to have to move into a whole new mindset. The clock is seriously ticking. There's obviously a lot of talking going on – I just hope they've been working hard at their jobs too and not just wondering what I'm doing."

Woodward, who led England to their 2003 Rugby World Cup triumph, was appointed the British Olympic Association's elite performance director in September 2006, after spending a year at Southampton FC, stressed that the decision to work with his new elite performance unit would be down to individual sports.

"It would have been wrong to go charging in to all the sports saying 'this is what I think' or talking about rugby." he said. "That would have wasted everyone's time. I can understand why a few people were a bit confused [about my role] but I'm quite confused by a lot of people's jobs.

"I don't worry about it, though. And if they want to see what we're doing (now), and I suggest they should, that's good. But if they don't, that's fine too. I just hope they win gold medals in London."