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  • 29 September 2014 00:00
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British Olympic success can inspire participation at community level says Team GB Chef de Mission

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British Olympic success can inspire participation at community level says Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England, the Team GB Chef de Mission for the Baku 2015 European Games and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, says that British Olympic success can play a major role in inspiring sports participation at community level.

Following the huge success of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, where Britain’s athletes finished third on the medal table with 65 medals and 29 golds, there has been an upturn in sports participation at grassroots level.
 
Sport England’s most recent Active People Survey showed that the number of over-16s playing sport once a week, every week has risen to over 15.6 million while there are now 1.7million more playing sport than in 2005 when London won the bid to host the Games.

England, who is also the Director of Sport Services at the British Olympic Association (BOA), feels that similar success from the Team GB athletes he leads at the Rio 2016 Olympics could provide another boost for sport at community level.

"The BOA’s role is two-fold,” England told Community Sport Network.

"Our principal role is to prepare and lead our nation’s finest athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games, but we also have the responsibility to promote the Olympic values in the UK.

"It is our athletes performances on the field of play that ultimately inspire sports participation at any level and many of them, I am sure, where were once inspired to take up their own sport having watched their idols perform at an Olympic Games. 

"So I think that it is the success of British athletes, whether they are wearing the Olympic rings on their shirt or their national governing body kit, that influences sports participation.

"I am sure that many sports fan watching London 2012 will have been inspired by the performances of Team GB to go and try a new sport.”

With the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016 now fast-approaching, England says the BOA are aiming for further Team GB success as they continue to look to succeed on the world stage and to inspire.

"As with any international sporting event we are ensuring that we leave no stone unturned to ensure the team is as best prepared as possible, and we’re working closely with all our national governing bodies to ensure that is the case,” said the Team GB Chef de Mission. 

"For Baku 2015 we anticipate Team GB being 120-150 strong and it will feature both established house hold names along with some up and coming young talent. 

"For some of our sports they will be looking to secure Rio 2016 quota places or ranking points, so Baku will be very important to them. 

"Whilst others will use it develop young talent it is rare that athletes get to experience a multi-sport event before an Olympic Games.

"Extensive planning for Rio is well underway. 

"We have been to Rio on a number of recess and are due to take a group of our team leaders later this year. 
"We have also begun to receive quota places courtesy of some of our sports fantastic achievements this summer and I look forward to tracking others progress over the coming 18 months. 
"With just under two years to go Team GB is in good shape.”

To read the full "Catch Up" interview with Mark England, Click Here 

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