By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

April 30 - Britain will collect more medals at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics than they did in Beijing if Labour win the General Election next week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised today when he launched the party's sports manifesto.

The manifesto promises that London will host a successful Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 "on time and within the budget, helping to secure more medals for Team GB than in Beijing, and to ensure that we come at least fourth in the 2012 Olympics Medal Table."

Britain won a record 47 medals at Beijing in 2008, including 19 gold, to finish ahead of Australia in the medals table for the first time in 20 years.

"This success is no accident," it is claimed in the manifesto.

"Labour’s unprecedented funding package for elite sport - with record levels of investment in the run-up to 2012 - has helped to rebuild our elite sports structures into a truly world class elite sports system.

"We now have some of the best coaches, talent pathways and financial support for athletes in the world, to give them the very best possible chance of winning more medals in 2012 and beyond.

"And our funding for our Olympic and Paralympics athletes will continue in the run-up to 2012 and beyond, with a new funding model combining Lottery grant, public funds and private sector sponsorship."

As part of the legacy of London 2012, the manifesto also promises to create a national network of 3,000 Olympic after-school sports clubs for teenagers by 2011

The "Change for Life" network of after-school clubs promises to help ensure the legacy of London 2012 and will give youngsters the opportunity of participating in seven Olympic sports, although they are not named in the manifesto.

The pledges were two of several made by Brown as he unveiled the manifesto during an event at Loughborough University along with several others, including setting  out guarantees of five hours a week of competitive sport for all under-19s in full time education as well as setting the target of recruiting 10,000 new volunteer coaches by 2012 and more free swimming sessions for children and the over-60s.

Brown, currently running third behind the Conservatives David Cameron and Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg in the opinion polls, said: "Right across this country when people mention the word sport, they mention Loughborough.

"The Sports Manifesto we are launching today, explains our commitment to sport and our polices for the future.

"We have already delivered a major increase in investment in school sport, and 90 per cent of children are taking part in two hours PE per week.

"In the future we will build on this foundation and make the next ten years a truly golden decade for UK sport."

The encouragement of sporting activity is also a key component of Labour's drive to improve public health.

Andy Burnham, Labour's Health Secretary, said: "Our future vision for sports is also a big part of our health vision.

"A fitter, more active Britain is a more healthy Britain.

"School sports, free swimming, great playing fields - these are all central to the preventative health agenda in Britain not just the sports agenda."

Brown was accompanied during his visit by Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell and Andy Reed, Loughborough's MP.

Reed said: "We have made investment in our sport infrastructure over the last decade - as Gordon saw today.

"We have also invested in our elite athletes and the infrastructure that surrounds them - with Loughborough benefiting of course.

"The news that Team GB will be based here [before London 2012] confirms our status as THE leading sports University in the UK and worldwide.

"But what we also wanted to show Gordon was the work the University is doing in health and physical activity as well.

"We didn't come fourth in the medal table in Beijing by accident.

"It was down to the hard work of athletes and coaches backed up by a system of total support. "

To read the full manifesto click here.

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