Eriksson hails GB Gothenburg medal haul a ‘big success’

UK Athletics head coach pleased with team’s performance at European Athletics Indoor Championships

Peter Eriksson (Mark Shearman)

Although reluctant to give a medal target ahead of the European Indoor Championships, UKA head coach Peter Eriksson confirmed that he was looking to improve on Paris 2011.

At the time of setting that ‘target’, GB’s medal tally from two years ago stood at eight medals, which was upped to nine medals last week with the news that Marilyn Okoro had been elevated to bronze medal position in the 800m following the retrospective disqualification of Russian Yuliya Rusanova, who had been found guilty of a drug violation.

So nine was the number to beat, and although coming up just short, Eriksson, who took on the head coach position after the departure of Charles van Commenee following London 2012, said he was pleased with how the team had done in his native country, adding that the colour of the medals won could be seen as that targeted improvement on Paris.

“It was really exciting,” he said. “I think this was a great eight medals.

“We said we wanted to do better – I think we did better as we had one more gold than last time in 2011.”

In what was Eriksson’s first major championships in charge, the medal tally of four gold, three silver and a bronze doubled the number of medals Van Commenee’s team claimed in his first championships, Turin 2009.

Before the championships Eriksson had defended the controversial middle-distance omissions for the team, as he chose not to take a male 1500m runner despite Chris Warburton and Charlie Grice both having gained UKA’s qualifying standards.

It was a young team that did eventually board the plane for Sweden, with an average age of 22, and ultimately Eriksson said he was happy with how they had performed.

“I think there were a lot of season’s bests and personal bests for the team, all of the women made finals and it was only a few guys who didn’t reach their finals so I think this was a big success for us,” Eriksson added.

» Catch up on this weekend’s Euro Indoors action with our session-by-session reports which you can find in our news section here. Look out for in-depth coverage plus lots of images capturing the action in the next issue of AW, out March 7.

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