Sir Matthew Pinsent predicts Britain’s best medal haul at next year’s Olympics

FOUR-TIME Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent reckons Great Britain could be set for its biggest medal haul yet, at next year’s London Games.

Team GB won 47 medals - including 19 golds - in Beijing in 2008 and secured 102 medals, including 42 golds in the Paralympics, finishing second in that particular medal table as a result.

“Beijing 2008 was our most successful Olympics ever and I am backing our current hopefuls to do even better in London,” said Pinsent, who believes the injection of more than �6billion from the National Lottery since 1994 into sport, is one of the main reasons behind the improvement in sport.

“The Lottery really has been a catalyst for the change in British sporting success,” he added.

“Lottery funding has made a tremendous impact at all levels of sport, transforming parks and sporting facilities and allowing local clubs to prosper across the UK.”

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Olympic and Paralympic athletes from each of the 47 sports that will be part of the London 2012 Games, came together on Thursday to say a big “thank you” to the National Lottery. One of the sports played will be football with Team GB fielding a men’s and women’s team together for the first time since 1972.

Arsenal and England player Kieran Gibbs said: “To represent Team GB in the football competition next year would be one of the highlights of a British footballer’s career.

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“I am fortunate to be at an age that means I could be considered, subject to club commitments.

“Any British footballer would take a lot of pride in pulling on the British vest and leading the GB team to success next year.”

The National Lottery is investing �2.2billion into the London 2012 Game and players have raised �27billion for good causes since 1994.

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