County sport benefits from Olympic boost

York Press: . .

SPORTS participation in North Yorkshire is continuing to rise in the wake of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

National figures published yesterday showed 15.5 million people are playing sport once a week, every week, an increase of more than 1.5 million since London won the bid to host the Games. In North Yorkshire, the percentage of people taking part in one session of 30 minutes per week has increased from 35.4 per cent in 2006 to 37.2 per cent in 2013. This ranks North Yorkshire as the 12th most active county out of 49, and is a higher participation rate than the Yorkshire average (36.2 per cent) and the national average (35.7 per cent).

The Active People survey is the largest survey of sport and active recreation ever carried out in Europe, and provides information on participation and trends in sport for people aged 16 and above.

David Watson, executive director of North Yorkshire Sport, said: “We are pleased to see that the participation results for the county continue to increase. “This is no doubt thanks to the hard work that professional and voluntary sports clubs do throughout the year, as well as the innovative products and formats that our national governing body colleagues are delivering in North Yorkshire.”

Nationally, meanwhile, football and tennis have been warned part of their public funding is at risk after both sports suffered big drops in participation in England.

Sport England, the body which distributes Lottery money to boost sport at grassroots level, says tennis has failed to capitalise on Andy Murray’s success at Wimbledon while football has dropped behind swimming, athletics/ running and cycling in terms of numbers of people taking part.

Sport England will hold meetings with the governing bodies of football and tennis – the Football Association and Lawn Tennis Association – and will make a decision in January as to whether up to 20 per cent of their funding will be suspended.

Football’s 2013-17 funding award was £30 million. The sport’s participation numbers are down to 1.83 million, a drop of 100,000 since April, and more than four per cent down on the 2005 figure.

Tennis, which has earlier this year had a £530,000 funding cut imposed, could lose more of its £17.4 million four-year award after participation fell from 423,400 in April to 406,000.

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