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The disappointing performance of team captain Steve Hooker and the failure of the middle-ranked athletes were the reasons Australia managed to win only half the number of medals they had set themselves to win at the Olympics, athletics officials say.

In the post-mortem of Australia's performance in track and field, Athletics Australia's president Rob Fildes admitted he had been overly ambitious in setting Australia a six-medal target after Beijing and that it was realistic for Australia to win between three and five medals at future Olympics.

Athletes won just three medals in London - Sally Pearson's gold, and Mitch Watt's and Jared Tallent's silvers - down from the four won in Beijing. A range of athletes had sub-standard performances, but high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth and Fildes both pointed to the efforts of the middle-ranked athletes, including the throwers, for the fact Australia had not done better at the Games.

Read the full story at The Age