Coates takes aim at sporting chiefs

EDS: Adds Coates' title to intro.

By Steve Larkin

LONDON, Aug 12 AAP - Some Australian sporting chiefs failed to take sufficient ownership of their Olympic campaigns, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates says.

Coates says he doesn't have the answers for Australia, after it failed to achieve its objective of a top five finish on the medal table in London.

But he has taken aim at leaders of some Australian sporting bodies for drifting into the 2012 Games.

"They are largely being very, very well funded by the Australian Sports Commission and with that comes responsibilities of delivering," Coates said on Sunday.

A lack of funds wasn't behind Australia's slide to 10th on the London medal table, he said.

"I am absolutely certain that the sports have to look at themselves, rather than look for more money," Coates said.

Some 18 months before the Games, Coates wrote to presidents or chief executives of Australia's Olympic sports.

"I was concerned, about 18 months out from these Games, whether the sports themselves - the presidents and the executives of the sports - were taking enough ownership of the objectives that they had set," he said.

"I know some where the presidents and the boards follow every result internationally.

"And there were others that just seemed to be allowing it to happen.

"And it may be fair for them to rely on very good high performance managers but, and I'm not going to be specific here, but it has to come from the top.

"Any corporation is only as good as its CEO or chairman and the direction that is coming from there.

"So I wrote to all of the sports and the presidents and I tried to get them to take some ownership of what ... their objectives would be for these Games.

"What I was doing was just trying to ensure they knew that their neck wasn't on the line, but they knew they had to take some ownership."

AOC benchmarking entering London had Australia winning 35 medals - the exact total they have collected.

But benchmarking predicted 15 gold medals and Australia have won only seven.

Australia won 45 medals at the Beijing Games four years ago, including 14 gold.

"The significant difference ...between these results and the results in Beijing is swimming," Coates said.

"In Beijing it contributed 20 of the 46 medals there and they contributed 10 here.

"... It must be possible for us to get back to where we were in swimming ... if we can better coordinate it, better utilise sports science, and ensure our coaches are thoroughly up to date, it's possible."