Step change in government sport policy needed, BOA says

 

Gold medal winners Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford both paid tribute to the crowd in the Olympic Stadium

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There needs to be a "step change" in sports policy so children inspired by Team GB's gold medals become future star athletes themselves, the British Olympic Association chairman has said.

Lord Moynihan was speaking before Andy Murray won gold in the men's singles tennis - GB's 16th of the Games.

He urged more funding of school sports and facilities to boost participation.

The government said its was aiming for a "lasting legacy" from the Games and wanted more children involved in sport.

Analysis

Winning gold medals is all about timing, and Lord Moynihan has picked his moment.

When better to reopen the debate about the practicalities of securing the participation legacy than when there's blanket coverage of British success?

The BOA chairman is calling for more funding for school sport when fellow politicians are taking every opportunity to associate themselves with a good news story.

If not now, then when, is his message.

If they're treading water, as he suggests, then as usual Lord Moynihan has gone in at the deep end. It's a well-rehearsed debate, but without doubt it now has been fanned by the oxygen of publicity.

At his morning press conference, Lord Moynihan paid tribute to Jessica Ennis and fellow GB team mates long jumper Greg Rutherford and 10,000m runner Mo Farah, both of whom won their events on Saturday.

GB athletes also took gold medals in rowing and cycling.

Lord Moynihan said the Games had already been a "fantastic success" in terms of urban regeneration and had resulted in some "outstanding" facilities.

But he added: "What is absolutely important and the focus for those in power is to make sure the thousands of kids right across the country... the able bodied and disabled, are not only inspired by sport... but that inspiration is translated into participation."

He said there needed to be a "focus on stronger schools sports policy, better facilities, more access to facilities" so the BOA could help develop young talent "and ultimately see the very best of them shining on the Olympic stage in the future".

"If you go round the schools and see what's happening in Australia and New Zealand, and if you see what's happened in Germany, a lot of these countries are really engaging schools as the centre-piece of their sport policy and linking with clubs so I'd like to see increased resources focused on school sport," added Lord Moynihan.

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A government spokesman said: "We want a truly lasting legacy from these Olympics and a big part of that means more young people taking part in competitive sport.

"Schools are part of the answer - that's why we have set up the 2012 School Games competition. But more young people taking part in competitive sport can't be driven by top down Whitehall policies, as we have seen previously. It must be led by parents and communities creating a culture where competitive sports can thrive."

But Labour sports spokesman Clive Efford said that when his party was in government its policies "succeeded in getting more youngsters in state schools involved in sport to a level never seen before".

"All this was destroyed when [Education Secretary] Michael Gove announced that all funding for the School Sports Partnership would be cut," he said.

"It is a pity that Lord Moynihan did not join us then and help protect sport in state schools," said Mr Efford.

Meanwhile, Locog says some 5.1 million spectators have watched the Games at its venues so far, including more than one million visitors to the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

It said an estimated 2.5 million people were trying to get tickets every day with each of the recent releases.

In other developments:

'Greatest' moment

Earlier, wearing her gold medal as she sat alongside Rutherford at a news conference, Ennis admitted the events of Saturday night would be hard to top as it would probably "be one of my greatest moments".

She refused to be drawn on whether she would compete at the Rio Games in four years time but laughed off talk of a possible retirement.

The 26-year-old said the crowd in the Olympic Stadium was "incredible" and helped "push her along" towards gold.

Rutherford also praised the 80,000-strong crowd at the stadium, saying "it was the lift I needed to win".

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 116.

    103. Ed G
    lets put finance where we get results with talented people!!!
    +++
    Like Swimming?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 115.

    By all means identify gifted children but do this way before they leave school for every discipline but beware that if you end up with hundreds of potential Olympiads for each event then you will end up with 99% of them disappointed as there is only one gold.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 114.

    Mr. Moynihan should be given a gold medal for hypocrisy. He was Minister for Sport in Mrs. Thatcher's Government when it was Conservative party policy to sell-off the school playing fields. The success of that policy is why so few state schools have playing fields today. Now he is advocating a greater level of sport opportunities in state schools. His hypocrisy is of breath-taking proportions.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 113.

    97. Assynt - I think you need to get your facts checked before posting comments. The Emirates "ski-lift" was subsidised by the public and was over budget. Also it is expected that the public purse will fund it when the novelty wears off. Also provides transport capacity of less than 30 buses. Also wi-fi on the public tube - so they installed their equipment on public properties. Cheap advertising.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 112.

    97. Assynt

    Well I suppose that makes up for it then doesn't it, All that lovely investment going to an already inflated capital, Poor Edinburgh you get the Commonwealth Games in two years, Which im sure you be able to catch on bbc3 or something.

    That is if Scotland is still part of GB by then....with its lovely oil.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 111.

    Sport is a hobby.

    The state does not fund my hobbies. Nor should it.

    Why should it fund yours?

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 110.

    73.
    "You wonder why Scotland wants to leave the great British union, you think of all the upgrades London has got due to the Olympics, while the rest of the countries have had services cut etc."

    I suspect that any government money will go to England. Did you notice the TeamGB logos in the background? Unless I'm mistaken, that's the lion of England!

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 109.

    Will we now see dressage in comprehensives?

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 108.

    If the Ancient Greeks worked out the benefits of sport and fitness in terms of healthier living, increased productivity and sharper minds why can't our adult population 2500 years later?

    Build more running and cycle tracks, subsidise sports facilities and equipment, stop the NHS wasting money on "lifestyle choices", tax the life out of junk food, ciggies and booze, and close the pubs!!!

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 107.

    How about having kids focus on education first. Only a few athletes go on to become professionals/top of their sport.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 106.

    Let's let our nations children compete on a level plying field for their future sucess. Or at least only a moderate uphill slope.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 105.

    Lets face it, there is only going to be a few kids who will be gifted enough to do sport professionally. So pumping loads of money into schools to allow such kids to succeed is not really helping the other 99% who won't be doing sport for a living. Our young adults have a hard enough time already getting employment.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 104.

    Moynihan is listening too much to Ed Balls! "Spend more and you'll be OK!" The current results come from the spend they've had over the past four years. We can't afford any more! Just get out there and work harder/smarter.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 103.

    how much money is spent on football? hundreds of thousands of pounds per week wages per player, stadiums, sponsorship, merchandise all worth millions and what competitions have we won? any world cups recently? no! anything? no! lets put finance where we get results with talented people!!!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 102.

    This is typical Conservative grandstanding.
    Excellence, as we see, is talent fostered through a routine of training and development. This needs stability and consistency and infrastructure.
    None of these features are facilitated by poverty..

    The private schools, that have the best facilities, must take the best youngsters.
    But, would you give up your child to this system?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 101.

    PE in schools is a good way for children to play sports at young age. If they enjoy it so much that they want to carry it on after school, we have £10billion worth of stadiums and swimming pools that have just been built. Whatever private company takes this facilities on can then charge people to improve their skills in these state of the art facilities.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 100.

    If I knew what the expression ' step change' meant, perhaps I'd be in a better position to comment. Another day, another cliche.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 98.

    #72: "Lord Moynihan ... was a Tory MP".

    It doesn't really matter what label is applied - like most his ilk he demonstrates an addiction to big government and high taxes. The "conservative" party is in this respect every bit as left-wing as Labour or Liberal - they are all intent on preserving state-socialist control, of which spending other people's money on sports is just one example.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 97.

    73.cleverleyson
    It may be an unpalatable truth but London taxpayers actually paid for most of the olympics!
    The tube wifi is a private investment service installed and offered by BT, O2 and Virgin - and I believe is not a free-be - neither is the ski-lift which again (like the London Eye) is a privately funded (Emirates Air Line) tourist attraction and not a free-be!

 

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