By Mike Rowbottom

charles van_commenee_14-07-11February 23 - Charles van Commenee (pictured), head coach at UK Athletics, has not set any medal targets for the British team at next month's IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul as he does not feel they will have any bearing on the team's preparations for London 2012.

And he added that the European Championships – which start in Helsinki on June 27, three days after the Aviva UK Trials – would not involve any track athletes who had already qualified for the Olympics.

"The World Indoor Championships is not an event people peak for in an Olympic year," said Van Commenee after a 39-strong British team including world 5,000 metres champion Mo Farah, Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu and world heptathlon silver medallist Jessica Ennis (below) had been named for the event which runs from March 9 to 11.

Jessica Ennis_

"It's not the beginning or the end of all things.

"And that's the reason why I am not setting any targets for this Championship.

"It will be a useful event to get information from, to see how athletes perform on that stage.

"If the team does great, then that will be good for the athletes.

"But if they don't do great, there's no reason to panic.

"I've already seen enough in this indoor season to be confident and optimistic for the summer.

"A lot of British athletes have already shown good ability, and I think for me that's enough.

"The number of medals that we win in Istanbul won't change anything.

"Whatever the results in Istanbul, we are heading in the right direction."

Commenting on what will be a rare indoor appearance for Ohuruogu, Van Commenee said: "We obviously want to do very well in the 4x400m and it's a really good opportunity to get the girls together and to see how far off they are from the three nations who dominate the event – the United States, Russia and Jamaica. We want to be closer to them."

Asked if Ohuruogu had been under the radar in recent months, he added: "I think she's been under the radar in terms of publicity, but not under the radar to the head coach.

"I have seen a lot of her in training and she is definitely in better shape than she has been in the last two years."

Van Commenee said this year's European Championships would be used as "a preparation for London", adding that the leading British field event athletes would be selected, but that the policy for track runners would be different.

"All track athletes who qualify for the Games after finishing in the top two in the Olympic trials will not be selected for Helsinki.

"The Championships come less than a week after the trials, and so we will select track athletes who didn't make the top two or who are still seeking qualifying times.

"Mostly those events will feature our number 3, 4 and 5 athletes. I don't think there will be many athletes in Europe who will rate the European Championships over the Olympics."

Van Commenee added that the exception to this rule would be the sprint relay teams, and possibly also the 4x400m relay teams.

Commenting on the doubts expressed by Farah (below) after his 3,000m defeat in Saturday's Aviva Grand Prix about running in Istanbul, Van Commenee dismissed the idea that losing in Birmingham would be any kind of problem for Farah.

Mo Farah_17_Feb

"It's quite normal that athletes get beaten, and actually quite healthy as well," he said.

"There are another five months until the Olympics and there is no reason to be concerned.

"There is this assumption that Mo is unbeatable, but it is mostly in Britain.

"I don't think people in Ethiopia or Kenya hold the same view."

Jeanette Kwayke, winner of the 60m trials, is finishing her indoor season early as a precaution after feeling a minor aggravation in an achilles tendon.

"Jeanette is dealing with an Achilles problem and she obviously doesn't want to jeopardise her preparations for the Olympics, so she is doing the smart thing," the head coach said.

On the question of whether Dwain Chambers would be making an appearance in the European Championships, he said: "That will remain to be seen. First we have to get the ruling from CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) over the BOA (British Olympic Association) bylaw."

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