THERE is to be an inquest into the “disastrous” performance of the British rowing team at the Olympics, which is returning from Tokyo with its worst haul of medals since 1980.

It is such a calamitous turn of events that the boss of GB rowing was skewered on live TV and asked embarrassing questions as if he were a Prime Minister who’d just spaffed £3m up the wall on a briefing room that will never be used.

Rowing has received £24.6m of Lottery money in the last five years, so it must be held accountable, but equally, the joy of sport is that money cannot guarantee success.

Money can give our athletes the very best starting point from which to go for gold, but it cannot give them the raw talent or the little bit of luck that is so crucial to success – indeed, six of our rowers came in fourth which, with a little luck, could have been turned into a record medal haul.

There is concern about the mental health of athletes, and little wonder when, having tried their hardest to the point of physical breakdown, they are accused of failing to win a medal or of disappointing their country by not reaching an Olympic final.

We must choose our words carefully. We should take pride in our athletes’ success in qualifying for the Olympics, and in the fact that we are sixth in the medal table – oh, to come sixth in Eurovision! And we cannot become so arrogant that we forget that, no much how much money is sloshing around, in sport there must always be a loser.