Record haul credited to Lottery lift

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The Independent Online
Britain's head coach yesterday handed the credit for the country's best ever world championships to the National Lottery.

Two years ago Britain claimed just two medals - one gold and one silver. That record was comprehensively broken in Aiguebelette, France, last weekend as eight medals were won in a variety of disciplines.

Head coach Jurgen Groebler was in no doubt as to the principle source of Britain's medal haul: "I think it is obvious what has caused the success," he said. "Last year we only got two medals in Atlanta and since the Lottery grant [pounds 1.8m] we have moved that up to eight. I think that money has been the main cause of the success.

"The team have trained really hard for this and they have been able to do it without the pressure of trying to find the money. They used to spend half of the time they could be training working, just to pay for the flight. Now they've got this money they can concentrate on their training and that means that success comes."

Double sculls silver medallist Guin Batten had intended to quit after Atlanta if funding was not available but the grant persuaded her to stay. "When the Lottery came along everything was sorted out for us and all of a sudden it made winning a possibility rather than a dream," she said.

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