PARALYMPICS LONDON 2012: British team upbeat despite missing target of second place on medal table
BRITISH Paralympic Games chiefs have lauded the performance of their athletes at London 2012 despite falling just short of reaching the medal table target they set.
STAR NAME: Sarah Storey won four golds to take her career tally to 11, in cycling and swimming, establishing herself as one of the faces of the London 2012 Paralympics
Funding agency UK Sport issued three pre-Games ambitions - winning more medals than Beijing, in more sports and finishing second on the medal table.
But it's a case of two out of three as Russia look likely to pip to edge the hosts into third, although only just.
"The bottom line is we have smashed our medals target and we have delivered medals in more sports," said British Paralympic Association performance director Penny Briscoe.
"For instance in table tennis we delivered four medals after none in Beijing, and there was our first ever sailing medal.
"We are third in the medal table and that does rankle just a tad in terms of the total golds, but I think it is significant that we are ahead of all of our competitors apart from China in terms of overall medals.
"We have stood toe-to-toe with the best nations slugging it out and it has been a battle. We have seen the return of USA and Australia and been at the hands of the dominant Chinesem who once again have laid down some phenomenal performances.
"It has been the most competitive Games ever with six nations likely to finish with 30 golds or more in the table.
"We have no regrets, absolutely not. I don't think there is any reason not to believe we don't have the potential or the ambition to continue to try and chip away at China's total in the future."
Briscoe, speaking at a press conference at ParalympicsGB House to mark the close of London 2012, described the team's pride at the achievements of a new wave of British heroes.
And she made her point sat alongside double track gold medallist Hannah Cockroft, four-times gold medallist Sarah Storey and Helena Lucas, who claimed the nation's first ever Paralympic sailing medal with gold in Weymouth.
"No medal has been easy and even those athletes that haven't achieved medals have put in some fantastic performances," added Briscoe.
"The statistic is a British medal once in every four events that have been held.
"The likes of Sarah Storey, David Weir and Ellie Simmonds have continued to deliver at the highest level. Then we have had debutantes such as Hannah with two amazing medals on the track.
"The performance of British athletes in London has been exceptional. World standards have taken a rise that we didn't think possible coming into the Games.
"We are incredibly proud of the achievements of the athletes. It has been very successful, hard fought and we should all be proud."
© Sportsbeat 2012