UK Politics

Robertson set to win Olympic medal wager with Australian counterpart

Australia's sports minister is set to don a Team GB shirt and take to the water after resigning herself to losing a wager with her UK counterpart about who would win more gold medals.

Kate Lundy said she had "cheerfully conceded" defeat and would row a length at Eton Dorney next month.

Had Australia won more golds, Hugh Robertson would have had to dribble a hockey ball in central London.

The UK has won 22 gold medals so far compared with Australia's four.

The UK is enjoying its best Olympics in the modern era, winning 48 medals to date.

In contrast, the Australians are considered to have under-performed, winning 25 medals so far - compared with 46 four years ago.

The two ministers agreed to the bet at a meeting in Melbourne in March to promote London 2012.

Ms Lundy told BBC News she was now resigned to coming second in the two-horse race.

'Tradition'

"I have cheerfully conceded. I think Great Britain will be exceeding our tally in gold medals.

"That said we have come pretty close. We have got a swag full of silver medals and we are very proud of our athletes for that."

Mr Robertson said the wager "had become a tradition" between the two sporting rivals but he was not declaring victory just yet.

"You never count your chickens before they are hatched in sport," he told the BBC. "We have not won it yet... but it is looking promising."

He added: "If I had lost it, I would have had to dribble a hockey ball around the island on the Strand, where Australia House is, wearing an Australian hockey shirt."

Ms Lundy is likely to do her "forfeit" during the Paralympic Games, which takes place next month.

A keen rower and patron of the Canberra Rowing Club, the Australian minister said she hoped her counterpart "would be waiting at the end with a drink for me".

She praised the staging of the Games, saying it had been a "wonderfully cheerful" event and there were a "lot of similarities" between London and the 2000 Olympics in Sydney - where Australia emerged on top with 16 golds to the UK's 11.

The Australian authorities would be "taking stock" of their performance after the Games, she added, and they "needed to keep innovating".