Australia tipped to almost double its gold medal tally at 2016 Olympics

Canberra, Dec 16 (IANS) Australia’s Olympic movement is confident it can rebound from the disastrous London Olympics campaign in 2012 by winning almost twice as many gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games.

A benchmark study, released by Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) on Wednesday, has tipped Australia to secure 13 gold medals at the Rio Olympic Games next year — almost double its dismal haul of seven gold in London, reports Xinhua.

Australia will creep back up to seventh in the Games’ final gold medal tally if the study, which is based on recent results in major international competitions, is proved accurate.

London 2012 marked Australia’s worst performance at the Olympics, in terms of gold medals won, since Barcelona in 1992.

Previously, Australia’s green and gold brigade had made steady ground up the ranks over the past two decades, finishing fourth at both its home Games in Sydney in 2000 and Athens four years later.

The AOC predictions had Australia winning gold in Brazil in swimming (seven), cycling (three), rowing (one), sailing (one) and men’s hockey (one).

“Overall we’ve had a better year, the gold medal tally is a tremendous improvement and the signs are good for Rio,” Kitty Chiller, chef de mission of the 2016 Australian Olympic Team, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We will need to move into the 40s in Rio to achieve our goals. The three superpowers (China, the United States and Russia) are way out in front but the next five nations are close.”

Australia is a relatively small country with a population of just over 23 million people yet has a proud history at the Olympics where it has traditionally punched above its weight for years.

Chiller said while the AOC expected to improve its gold haul in Rio, the nation’s overall medal tally would remain much the same. It is expected to win 14 silver and 10 bronze which, if true, will only boost its tally up to 37, two more than London 2012.

Chiller believed the goal was “realistic” as Australia’s dependency on its traditional Olympic gold mine, swimming, had eased slightly.

The AOC study determined China (97 medals and 39 gold) as the country most likely to reign supreme in Rio, followed by the United States (84 and 35) and Russia (69 and 25).

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