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Olympics: Australia target top five at Rio Games

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Better use of resources rather than more government funding will help Australia return to the top five Olympic nations, Australia Olympic Committee president John Coates said on Friday.

The AOC has set another top-five target for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after Australia slipped to 10th in the medals table at last year's London Games.

"This is not the time for national federations, or the AOC on their behalf, to be going cap in hand to the federal government," Coates wrote in the AOC's annual report, released Friday.

"Our objective again is to finish in the top five nations on the gold and overall medal standings."

The AOC has budgeted Aus$29.8 million (US$31.4 million) in funding for sports on the programme of the 2016 Rio Games.

Australia, whose strong sporting tradition is a source of national pride, expect to send about 480 athletes to Rio, including golfers and a rugby sevens team, with both sports making their Olympic debuts.

Australia, who also targeted a top-five in London, won seven gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals at the Games to finish 10th in the medals table. They were seventh in terms of overall medals won.

Their swimmers, a traditional strength of the Australian Olympic team, won just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze in London -- their lowest tally in the pool since 1992 in Barcelona.

The team also went without an individual gold medal for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Coates said working closely with sporting institutes to tap into administrative, coaching, science and medical resources would be crucial "if our Olympic teams are to lift again and achieve the success we wish for them".

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130412/olympics-australia-target-top-five-at-rio-games-0