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London 2012: Sport participation rises by 1.5m since Olympics bid

London 2012: Sport participation rises by 1.5m since Olympics bid

Published: 12/12/2013 Article Author: KigaliKonnect.com Staff

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»» Olympics

The number of people regularly taking part in sport has risen by 1.5m since London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, according to Sport England.


There were 15.5m people participating in sport at least once a week in England during the past year.

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We are concerned about the results for young people - although the majority of 16-25 year olds still play sport regularly the numbers are not going up.

Jennie PriceSport England chief executive

"More people continue to play sport and the growth we saw in 2012 was not just a post-Olympic bounce," said Sport England chief executive Jennie Price.


London was chosen as the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games in July 2005.


Sport England's figures - which are compiled twice a year, in April and October - show the number of people aged 16 and over playing at least 30 minutes of sport at moderate intensity at least once a week.

The Active People Survey shows:


  • The number of disabled people now playing sport each week has increased by 62,000 to a record high of 1.67m.
  • The number of people of BME (black and minority ethnic) origin playing sport regularly has jumped from 2.13m to 2.7m.
  • A record number of people aged 26 years and over are involved in sport.
  • Swimming remains England's biggest participation sport with more than 2.9m people taking part at least once a week.


  • Athletics and cycling in second and third place each boast more than 2m weekly participants.

However the picture is not entirely positive, with the report also showing:

  • The number of 16-to-25 year olds in sport has declined to 3.74m.
  • Only five sports have increased participation overall since 2005: athletics, cycling, boxing, table tennis and archery.
  • Sixteen sports have seen a decline over that eight years, including swimming, football, golf, tennis and cricket.
  • The numbers participating in tennis has fallen by 39,000 from this point last year despite Andy Murray becoming Britain's first Wimbledon's men's singles champion since 1936.
  • Football has dropped from being the nation's second biggest sport in terms of participation to the fourth overall with 1.8m players.

Price added: "We are concerned about the results for young people - although the majority of 16-25 year olds still play sport regularly the numbers are not going up.


"The evidence shows a sharp drop in the popularity of traditional sports like football and netball, and we need to make sure they have a wider range of sporting activities to choose from."

In the year that Andy Murray won Wimbledon, there has been a fall in the number of people who play tennis at least once a week.


Sport England's Active People Survey found that 406,000 people played in the year to October - a fall of 39,000 on the previous 12-month period.


The Lawn Tennis Association was tasked with increasing that number to 450,000, and Sport England will now decide in January whether they feel the LTA's long term plans for increasing participation entitle them to receive £10.3m in withheld funding.


Referring to the tennis figures, Sport England's director of sport Phil Smith told BBC Sport: "I think we've probably finally dispelled the myth that a British guy winning Wimbledon would do something to increase participation figures.


"It's not that simple to translate into a weekly habit of ordinary people playing a sport - it takes more than just a Wimbledon winner."


On football, Price continued: "We are disappointed by football's results and the Football Association really need to grasp this.


"There is now to be a discussion with the Football Association and our board, but we operate a payment for results scheme so football is definitely in the at-risk zone.


"The FA has the power to do an enormous amount of good for grassroots football as they have a lot of sponsorship, a lot of power and connections, but they need to focus and work much more effectively. They have to think big in their participation programmes."


Who's taking part in what?


Source: Sport England's Active People Survey










































This time last year Sport England granted most sports funding for the next four years, but six sports - swimming, tennis, basketball, squash, table tennis and fencing - only received a one-year allocation.


They were essentially put on probation and given 12 months to meet specific targets, such as raising levels of participation.


Sport England will make its future funding decisions on these six sports in January, when it will also make a decision as to whether up to 20% of football's funding will be suspended - the sport's 2013-17 funding award was £30m.


The FA general secretary, Alex Horne said: "These are clearly disappointing numbers. Understanding and reversing the fall in participation is an immediate and top priority and we are working exhaustively with Sport England and our other partners to ensure the right plans and programmes are in place to achieve this.


"Through our own research we are confident that we have the right programmes in place to ensure that we can meet these needs and to grow and sustain the regularity of the football they play."


The feel-good factor from Britain's cycling successes at London 2012, coupled with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome winning successive Tour de France titles, has helped make it the stand out performer, increasing participation by 137,000 from April to October 2013.


Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, said: "I am encouraged that sports participation is back up on the rise compared to six months ago and that participation among disabled people is at an all-time high. More women are getting involved too and I want to keep up that momentum.]


"But there is still more to be done to encourage greater participation across the board. Sports governing bodies must step up and deliver for the half a billion pounds of public money that they receive. If they don't, funding will be taken away and channelled into grassroots sport through other routes."


Clive Efford, Labour's Shadow Minister for Sport, added: "In the year following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games figures show that overall participation is down. The most damning figure is the reduction in participation among 16-to-25-year-olds by 51,000.


"These figures underline the fact that [Prime Minister] David Cameron has no strategic plan for sport and has failed to capitalise on the explosion of enthusiasm generated by the Olympics and Paralympics. A golden opportunity is being squandered. "

SOURCE: bbc.co.uk