Britain is aiming to improve on the performance of its teams at London 2012 ©Getty Images

UK Sport believe that Great Britain's ambitious target to improve on their London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic performance in Rio de Janeiro this summer is "within sight".

The country hopes to be the first to ever win more medals at the next Games after hosting them, a goal which has been described as "aspirational". 

In London the hosts won 65 Olympic and 120 Paralympic medals, while they also hope to record their best ever overseas Olympic result at Rio 2016.

To do that Britain would need to better the 47 medals they won in Beijing in 2008.

Thirty-six Olympic and Paralympic sports are targeting Rio medals, a record, with more detailed targets set to be released in July.

The country came third on both the Olympic and Parlaympic medals tables in London.

Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: “Our aspirational goal has played an important role in uniting everyone in the high performance system behind an incredibly challenging mission.

"The ambitious aspiration has resonated with athletes, coaches, performance directors and practitioners and focused their pursuit of excellence throughout the Rio cycle as we have sought to maximise the possibility of doing what no other host nation has managed to achieve.

British divers, including Tom Daley, achieved a record World Championship medal haul in 2015
British divers, including Tom Daley, achieved a record World Championship medal haul in 2015 ©Getty Images

“I remain confident the aspirational goal will be within the medal target ranges when we announce them in July, but the least I expect is the best ever away Olympics and to remain as competitive at the Paralympic Games.

“This would represent a fantastic, and historic, achievement, and make Rio 2016 another memorable Games to inspire the nation through the success of Team GB and ParalympicsGB.”

Despite this confidence, UK Sport has admitted that results during 2015 were "mixed" after 47 medals were won in Olympic sports during the year.

This was towards the lower end of the agreed target of between 39 and 71, while 125 medals were won in Paralympic sports when the goal was between 110 and 156.

Record World Championship medal hauls were achieved in diving, gymnastics, Para-rowing and swimming.

Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said that preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were also coming along well.

“Our planning with sports for the Tokyo 2020 Games is also progressing with real purpose as our high performance system continues to focus on keeping ahead of other nations in an ever more competitive environment," she said.

"The commitment we recently received through the Government’s spending review to continuing current levels of funding into the Tokyo cycle gives us a huge advantage.

“This, alongside the Government’s new sport strategy, bodes extremely well for continued success for British sport.

“That said, these are challenging times, with sports governance increasingly under the spotlight, and we welcome the opportunity to develop a UK sports governance code and the ambition for this to be applied internationally.”