How Hong Kong can emulate Britain's success

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 March, 2013, 4:56am

We asked Sebastian Coe what advice he could give smaller Olympic competitors such as Hong Kong to emulate some of Britain's Games success. Here's his masterplan:

"The reality for me, there are four things that come together, no matter what size you are - it's a challenge because there are some nations that are better resourced to do this, but by and large you need:

  • World-class coaching: if you don't have that, it's not going to happen.
  • Smart national governing bodies, and they tend to employ world-class coaches.
  • The rub of the green because you need the quantum of talent to come through - clearly in the UK in the past eight years we've had that.
  • Sustainable and predictable levels of funding. It's important for a national governing body to know that if it employs a world-class coach they have the wherewithal to keep that coach in place for the Olympic cycle and probably beyond. Not to say at the most important moment in the development of a team or individual, "Sorry, the funding ran out, we're going to have to let you".

So it's about predictability for the coach and the athlete and there's no way round that. The ability to employ world-class coaches, the ability to have the right infrastructure, the ability to find and nurture the next generation and the ability to have world-class governing bodies is predicated in large part on a system of central funding in one way or another

And it's a good investment. If you have the well-stocked shop window [of successful athletes], I think there is more impact on participation rates for young people in sport by emulation - people wanting to be the next Chris Hoys, the next Jessica Ennises - than well-meaning public-sector approaches to try to get as many people in sport as we can, but the two go together."