sport

Eriksson won't set medals target

UK Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson has set Britain's athletes a simple target for Gothenburg - do better than they did this weekend.

Following the weekend's European Indoor Championship trials, a week still remains for athletes to secure an automatic place on the team by recording qualifying times or distances, or by impressing selectors to gain discretionary berths.

But the likes of Holly Bleasdale, Asha Philip and Robbie Grabarz already look like medal contenders when the championships take place in Sweden in March.

"We saw some really fantastic results; Holly Bleasdale, Asha Philip and Robbie Grabarz of course," Eriksson said. "The relay is going good in the 400m, men and women, I think we have two very good relay teams so I'm really optimistic about it and it's just February, so it's a long way to go."

Britain won eight medals in Paris two years ago, but when asked what the target was in 2013, Eriksson simply added: "Do better. We don't have [a medal target] so better than before."

Bleasdale produced the performance of the weekend in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.77m to lead this year's world rankings, while Olympic bronze medallist Grabarz cleared a season's best of 2.31m in the high jump and was close to a British record of 2.39m.

Philip, whose career has been blighted by injuries, won the 60m title in a personal best of 7.15 seconds, while James Dasaolu also clocked a PB of 6.58secs to win the men's event in the absence of the injured five-time champion Dwain Chambers, who must rely on a discretionary spot.

However, the action was somewhat overshadowed by confirmation that Toni Minichiello, the coach of Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, had severed ties with UKA.

Eriksson insists Ennis will not be "punished" for the decision of Minichiello, who failed to reach agreement over a new role with UKA after his contract came to an end earlier this year.

"This is nothing we punish anybody for, rather the other way round that we will make sure she has what it takes," Eriksson said.

"I have only met her twice; the first time we met we said we would continue supporting her and do everything we can for her to perform at the best level. When I see her next time it will be just reconfirming that.

"I am sure he (Minichiello) is thinking about the implications it has for them and I am sure he has a plan. He can't just do this out of the blue. I am fine with it and we will do everything we can to help her to get to what she wants. I think she has more to give, better performances to come and we will continue doing the best we can for her."