altAUGUST 30 - DAME KELLY HOLMES (pictured) has today urged athletics to change if it wants to achieve success at the 2012 London Olympics.


In a hard-hitting interview published in The Sun that will put further pressure on UK Athletics performance director, Dave Collins, Dame Kelly has admitted the British team in Beijing badly underperformed with just four medals.


She said: "Athletics has been shown up by the fact other sports are so far ahead of us.


"It wasn’t just cycling and rowing, it was sailing, swimming and even canoeing."


Dame Kelly, winner of the 800 and 1500 metres double at the 2004 Athens Olympics, reserved greatest criticism for the men's 4x100m relay team who were disqualified in their heat after Craig Pickering ran outside the exchange zone.


The debacle came after Collins had sanctioned £500,000 being spent on their preparations.


Dame Kelly said: “I don’t get why we couldn’t get the baton round.


"That’s the basic thing you need to do.


"You have 20 yards to do the hand-over.


“There is no excuse.


"The men, as defending Olympic champions, should have got a medal.


“The expectation was on them.


"After all the money spent on training camps and practice they should be getting it right.”


Dame Kelly has held discussions with Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, about the future direction the sport needs to take and wants her sport to adopt the blue print pioneered by British Cycling, which won eight gold medals in Beijing.


She said: “Athletics has the whole world to compete against while in some sports the field is smaller and they have teams who are better developed than others.


“But we have so many coaches, so many people who live all over the place and so many events within our sport.


"You’ve got the sprinters and then you’ve got the endurance runners who are a completely different breed.


"What cycling has got right is t has control over its athletes.


“They are all based in Manchester and that means they are all there in terms of camaraderie, training, ethics, physiotherapy, medical support.


“Everything’s there for them.


“We need to become united as a sport.”


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