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British Athletics chief Stephen Maguire excited by Olympic medal prospects

Great Britain are primed for a medal bonanza at the Olympics, according to British Athletics technical director Stephen Maguire.

The squad’s 10 medals at the World Championships in Budapest matched the record from Stuttgart in 1993.

Keely Hodgkinson’s 800m silver and two 4x400m relay bronze medals on the final evening on Sunday boosted the tally – less than a year before the start of the Paris Olympics.

Team GB at the World Athletics Championships, 2013-23
Team GB improved significantly on recent World Championships (PA graphic)

Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Josh Kerr won gold and, after just four track and field medals at the Tokyo Olympics, Maguire has high hopes next year.

He said: “Paris is going to be another level but the way we’re getting the medals, in very tough competition, I’d be very optimistic.

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“I’m delighted. The amount of finalists that we’ve had, the amount of top-12 (finishes) that we’ve had, a lot of the younger athletes stepping up and actually converting what they’re doing in the season coming into competition.

“It’s been brilliant. So there’s a real feelgood factor, Kat started things off. That story just resonated through everyone.

“What a start with that and the mixed relay and then things snowballed.

“These World Championships have been tough. The standard has been absolutely through the roof.”

The men’s 4x100m relay team missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in Saturday’s final, after a disrupted build-up when Reece Prescod dropped out of the squad on the eve of the championships.

Maguire also had to take more responsibility for the relays with head of sprints and relays Darren Campbell officially on sick leave.

The men were the only relay squad not to win a medal in Budapest – with the others all collecting bronze – and Maguire will seek talks with Prescod.

World Athletics Championships 2023 medal table
World Athletics Championships 2023 medal table (PA graphic)

“There are never going to be winners. The athlete is always the loser, aren’t they? He didn’t perform and whatever but it’s communication, understanding behaviours,” said Maguire, who was previously sprints and relays coach.

“I’m not sure it’s (about) clearing the air but, in high performance sport, you need black and white conversations as well. I think there’s a conversation needed.

“High performance sport is difficult and the ability to compete at this level is difficult. Reece and I actually have a good relationship and I’ll have no problems chatting to Reece at the end of September, October time.”