We proved all the doubters wrong, says British Olympic Association chief Sir Hugh Robertson after Team GB matched their London 2012 haul with a huge 65 MEDALS at Tokyo 2020… and now it’s all eyes on Paris!
Team GB’s Tokyo heroes have helped the British Olympic Association silence their critics in emphatic style, according to chairman Sir Hugh Robertson.
Great Britain matched their London 2012 medal haul of 65 at this summer’s Games and Robertson could not hide his pride at having solved a logistical puzzle like no other, which saw the Olympics delayed by a year and then plunged into a state of emergency in Japan due to Covid-19.
‘We’ve proved the doubters wrong,’ Robertson said.
Team GB ‘s heroes have helped the BOA silence their critics, according to Sir Hugh Robertson
‘Six months ago we faced a wall of people telling us we shouldn’t be doing this, it’s entirely unethical and the wrong thing to do. But when the Games started, they were defined by the sporting success.
‘Our athletes have done us proud.’
Robertson and Team GB faced a huge challenge to get the entire athlete body and their coaches vaccinated and ensure everybody made it to Tokyo safely at different times in a series of bubbles.
‘We delivered 375 athletes in a 1,000-strong party across 26 sports to the start line, from a country where cases when we left were about 50,000 a day, into a state of emergency,’ Robertson said. ‘I’m so proud of how we’ve done that. It is a remarkable achievement.’
Cycling’s golden couple Jason and Laura Kenny, boxing champions Galal Yafai and Lauren Price and modern pentathlon winners Kate French and Joe Choong were among the athletes taking the final flight with Robertson from Tokyo back to Britain. Men’s flyweight gold medallist Yafai was mobbed by a group of friends and treated to chants of ‘There’s only one Galal Yafai’ upon his arrival.
The 28-year-old from Birmingham said: ‘It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and now I can bring it back for my family and friends, for my city and my country. I was just thinking about getting through every fight and that’s what I managed to do.’
Robertson is confident Team GB’s Tokyo experience will stand them in good stead for when the Games arrive in Paris in 2024, hinting that they could improve their medal tally even further. ‘There are reasons to be optimistic,’ he argued. ‘We have a very young team who will only get more experience. The events in Tokyo tend to suggest the pipeline of young stars coming through is very strong.
‘And of course, in Paris, hopefully with all this behind us, they’ll have the benefit of lots of British supporters. It will be a sort of proxy home Games for us.’
England Netball are supporting a bid from World Netball and Netball Australia for their sport to finally become an Olympic sport at Brisbane 2032. Netball has been in the Commonwealth Games since 1998 but never at the Olympics, despite lobbying efforts. The sport is hoping to seize on the fact that Australia are the world’s No 1 netball nation.