Just how well are we doing?

Inevitably with the recent wins at IJF Grand Prix and Grand Slam event medal hauls the BJA media machine will be getting pumped to inform us all how great the British team are now doing, I thought it might be a good idea to have a none biased look at how we’re doing in this Olympic qualification period. I thought one way to consider our progress was by comparing our performance in the first year of Olympic qualification for London to the first year of Olympic qualification to Rio. We have a new regime, not every one agrees with it but it is better than before? Here are some results…

The Olympic qualification period is the two years prior the games (May to May) so we’ll be considering May 2010 to May 2011 and May 2014-May 2015 (I know, very timely!). So, just comparing Grand prix and Grand slam events this is what it looks like –


GP Tunisi May 2010 – nil

GP Rotterdam 2010 – nil

GP Abu Dhabi 2010 – nil

GP Quingdao 2011 – nil

GP Dusseldorf 2011 – nil

GP Baku 2011 – nil

GS Rio de Janeiro 2010 – nil

GS Moscow 2010 – nil

GS Tokyo  2010- 1 (Euan Burton, Bronze)

GS Paris 2011 – nil


GP Havana 2014 – 2 (McKenzie bronze, Sherrington silver)

GP Budapest 2014 – 1 (Powell bronze)

GP Ulaanbaatar 2014- nil

GP Zargreb 2014 – 2 (Powell and Howell bronze)

GP Astana 2014 – 2 (Powell gold, Davis Bronze)

GP Tashkent 2014 – 2 (Powell bronze, Adlington bronze)

GP Quindao 2014 – nil

GP Jeju 2014 – 1 (Oates, bronze)

GP Dusseldorf 2015 – 1 (Schlesinger, gold)

GP Tbilisi 2015 – nil

GP Samsun 2015 – 4 (Powell silver, Conway, Davis and Howell bronze)

GP Zargreb 2015 – 2 (Davis gold and Conway silver)

GS Baku 2014 – 2 (Oates gold, Conway, silver)

GS Tyumen 2014 – nil

GS Abu Dhabi 2014 – nil

GS Tokyo 2014 – nil

GS Baku 2015 – 3 (Oates silver, Davis silver, Conway gold, Schlesinger bronze)

For those of you frantically calculating a summary that is

2010-11 = 1 bronze
2014-15 = 12 bronzes, 5 silvers and 5 golds
I would suggest that is an outstanding improvement! I would like to add a few caveats to this before we all run out buying Rio tickets though….
  1. This is a pretty crude analysis, GP and GS events change and as you can see there are a lot more in the current Olympic cycle. It might have been fairer to include world cups/continental opens especially as under the current system athletes cannot self-fund to grand slams.
  2. If including world cups/continental opens then it might have also been fairer to analyse total world ranking points won rather than just medals
  3. I would also suggest that the truest measure of our improvement is world championship medals. We were a country that won a medal and almost every world championships up until that last Olympic cycle and we haven’t managed one yet in this Olympic cycle, however there is still Kazakstan 😉

I am sure there will still be critics of the current system, of course I have my own opinions about it, but the fact of the matter is we do seem to be improving in performance. I am sure some of those critics would also happily point out that few of these medals were won by athletes at Walsall, i’ll save you the counting…

Camberley 1 (Ashley)

Ratho 9 (Colin, Sally, Chris and Sarah)

Welsh Institute of sport 5 (Natalie)

Walsall 5 (I am assuming Nekoda and Alice are both training there but not sure, happy to be corrected)

Bath 2 (Gemma H)

I think considering the main aim of Walsall is the Tokyo 2024 games 5 of the medals is pretty good.

My overall opinion?? Well I am still not 100% convinced by centralisation, I hate that Camberley, Bath and Ratho players are often forced to feel like second class citizens and I personally would like to see this addressed, I think we would actually do much better for it. Having said that, the questions was “How are we doing?” and the answer has to be – a lot better than we were!

Please feel free to comment below 🙂



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3 responses to “Just how well are we doing?

  1. Got this from Mark Conway 🙂

    Your comparing a qualifying period to our home games where the previous administration were not concerned with our athletes WRL position, ranking/seeding position. Some decisions from the previous administration actually harmed ranking and seedings of our top athletes at the time because of a consolidation period imposed and an insistence of staying at home to prepare.

    I think we went a period of time where our top athletes only went to worlds & european competitions after having a three month preparation period at home and not being sent to GP or GS to get prepared for the major events
    From your list of GP & GS 2010/11 how many of our athletes were selected and failed to secure a podium place?

    Our qualifying criteria for the home games was set low so we could qualify a full team

    The Rio games ….by having to qualify by way of top 16 forces the association to manage the athletes competition programme giving opertunities to gain WRL points


  2. Chris

    I stated on another thread that a rigorous statistical analysis of performance would be relatively easy to do and wondered if the BoD commissioned such. I have a research Masters Degree and some standard test such as Analysis of Variance or Chi-square would suffice. If this is not done I wonder why, particularly as Andrew Haffner is a mathematician. (The test mentioned show whether variations are meaningful or just chance fluctuations)

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes of course this would be easy, possibly the hardest part would be collecting the historical data in the first place.

      We did complete a tracking study some years ago in preparation for London that tracked the top 8 in the world and I am sure Nigel will be doing that kind of thing now.

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