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Sports

Germany lowers Olympic medal targets, but confident of Rio's hosting credentials

While the DOSB will increase the number of athletes in Rio, the German Olympic Committee has set modest target for this summer's medal table. The DOSB has also given its support to Rio despite health and safety concerns.

Michael Vespers, Germany's Head of Mission for the 2016 Olympic Games, backed the event organizers in Rio de Janeiro to be a success amid a series of warnings over security and the safety of athletes.

"The authorities in Rio are convinced that they will remain secure," Vespers told DW at the Germany team's kit launch in Düsseldorf. "I assume that the security measures are carried out there with a sense of proportion and do not interfere with the cheerful Brazilian atmosphere."

Black, red and gold were prominent as the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) and 20 athletes launched a range of merchandise and apparel for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. "Our athletes aren't just comfortable, but Germany is also visually well represented in the high-technology functional clothes and the fashionable design," explained Vesper.

Big numbers, modest hopes

Düsseldorf Messe Olympiabekleidung deutsche Athleten

Germany launching their Olympic kit in Dusseldorf

Germany's Olympic mission will cost in total around nine million euros ($10.1 million). "The athletes won't be living in five-star hotels, but in double rooms in six or eight apartments," said Vesper who carries the Head of Mission role for the fourth time after Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

Germany will have 450 athletes competing in Rio, compared with 391 in London four years ago. Qualifying for their respective events, both football and hockey teams are also joined by the men's handball side who won the European Championships this year.

"We are happy to compete with a large team in Rio, probably larger than in London 2012 and also more than in Beijing in 2008, because only five teams have qualified in the team sports," added Vesper.

But the 51-year-old presented new medal targets for Germany's Olympic team, reducing previous expectations after consultation with the nation's sporting associations. "We have updated the target range and have moved down to between 38 and 68 medals," Vesper said. "But I'm not pessimistic. You have the corridor not necessarily see from below."

Four years ago, the German team collected 44 medals, while there were 41 claimed in the Beijing Olympic Games following a strong showing (56) at the Sydney Olympics in 2004. Germany's strongest medal haul since reunification stands at 82 in Barcelona.

Back in 2013, Vesper asked for increased spending after a budget of between six and seven million euros for the previous Olympic Games. Each gold medal winner will collect a prize of 20,000 euros, as Vesper confirmed. "This is not comparable with other countries, but simply recognition."

"I knew what it was like before anyone, but it goes quite fast," said Melanie Leupolz, a footballer for Germany's woman side. "It's really good to be here and chat with the others," added Lisa Hahnen, a marathon champion. Meanwhile, double Olympic hockey champion Moritz Fürrste appreciated the chance to learn from the other athletes. "Of course, you exchange opinions with so many different sports. That's obvious," said Fürste.

It is still not clear whether all 20 athletes, who were turned into DOSB models for the day, will actually be selected for Rio. The deadline for nominations is July 12 ahead of the opening ceremony on August 5 at the Maracana Stadium.