WA athletes can win up to 17 medals across 16 sports at the London Olympics, according to WAIS executive director Steve Lawrence.

With the Australian team likely to be finalised at 406 athletes by the middle of next week, the WA contingent should provide 11 per cent of the team, with 45 competitors.

"It's better than we thought we'd do," Lawrence said.

"At the beginning of the cycle we were really worried we would get 10 per cent of team, and when women's soccer went out, it looked even harder, so were are really happy.

"A couple of outsiders, like Casey Dellacqua and the boxing girl Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen, helped boost the numbers and we didn't think we'd get five in the women's hockey.

"That was better than expected but having said that we thought we would get a minimum of two in the men's and we only got Fergus Kavanagh in."

Lawrence paid tribute to WAIS head sprint canoe coach Ramon Andersson, a bronze medallists in the K4 in Barcelona, after five of his charges made the Games team.

"Ramon's done a fantastic job with that group," Lawrence said.

"Three in the flat water, then two in the slalom, that's a really good number for us."

Lawrence said Alana Nicholls, who competes in the K1 200 and the K1 500, was a genuine medal contender after outstanding performances in recent months in overseas competition.

"Alana will go in as one of the real favourites," he said. "She's not a dark horse and people would expect her to be one of the medallists.

"If she didn't medal, she would be disappointed.

"I see her as being within a blade stroke of one, two or three."

Lawrence's other major medal hopes include gymnast Lauren Mitchell, rowers Ben Cureton and Todd Skipworth, the women's water polo team players Gemma Beadsworth and Glencora Ralph, equestrian riders Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks and the three cyclists Josie Tomic, Melissa Hoskins and Scott Sunderland.

In Beijing, 49 WA athletes got 16 medals across eight different sports.

Fourteen WA athletes won medals in 10 events, one better than the nine successes in Athens, and the 16-medal total equalled the Atlanta haul of 16 years ago.

"If we get most across the line, we should be similar to what we had last time and that would be really good, given that one of the things that has been noticed around the world is that countries are winning less medals to hold on to the positions on the medal table," Lawrence said.

"In essence, the medals are being spread across more countries because more countries are specialising in specific events. The events themselves are becoming much more competitive."

WA'S OLYMPIC ATHLETES

Archery: Taylor Worth; Athletics: Alana Boyd, Liz Parnov (pole vault), Kim Mickle (javelin), Ben Offereins (4x400m), Steve Hooker (pole vault); BMX: Khalen Young, Lauren Reynolds; Boxing: Naomi Fischer-Rasmussen; Canoeing: Alana Nicholls (K1 200, K1 500), Jesse Phillips and Stephen Bird (K2 200m), Kynan Maley (C1, C2 slalom), Robin Jeffrey (C2 slalom). Cycling: Josie Tomic (team pursuit), Melissa Hoskins (team pursuit), Scott Sunderland (team sprint). Equestrian: Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks; Gymnastics: Emily Little, Lauren Mitchell, Janine Murray (rhythmic); Hockey: Ashleigh Nelson, Fiona Boyce, Hope Munro, Jayde Taylor, Kobie McGurk, Fergus Kavanagh; Rowing: Alexandra Hagan and Hannah Vermeersch (eight), Ben Cureton and Todd Skipworth (lightweight fours) Shooting: Robyn van Nus; Sailing: Belinda Stowell, Elise Rechichi (470s); Swimming: Blair Evans (400 IM), Sally Foster (200m breaststroke), Tomasso D'Orsogna (4x100m freestyle relay). Tennis: Casey Dellacqua; Volleyball: Luke Smith; Water polo: Gemma Beadsworth, Glencora Ralph, Aaron Younger, Jamie Beadsworth, Tim Cleland.

The West Australian

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