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  • Last Modified: 16 March 2017 04:47

Survey reveals British people would prefer better sports facilities over Olympic glory!

Findings from a new survey has found that most Britons would rather have access to sports facilities in the UK, enabling many to participate in sport, than medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

A survey commissioned by charity Pro Bono Economics found that rather than prioritising Olympic gold, the public would like to see government sports funding channeled into more community sports centres, making entrance fees into leisure centres lower and the reinstatement of school and public playing fields.

The findings also gives support for local grassroots sports and fitness initiatives and improved physical exercise in schools.

By contrast, only four per cent of the population backed UK Sport’s funding strategy for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which puts the emphasis on "more medals and medalists to inspire the nation".

A total investment of £345 million ($434 million/€411 million) will be made to 31 Olympic and Paralympic sports for the next Games - £2 million ($2.5 million/€2.3 million) less than a record £347 million ($436 million/€413 million) allocated in the run-up to Rio.

Great Britain won 67 medals at the Rio 2016 Games, but the survey found that a mere seven per cent of the 2,000 respondents had been inspired by the Olympics to take up a particular sport.

The five sports most favoured by those who did were cycling, swimming, athletics, tennis, and football.

However, it is not a lack of interest in sport that stops others from participating but expense according to 17 per cent and a lack of local facilities said 12 per cent were the biggest reasons for not participating in sport.

Almost one in five respondents blamed their busy lifestyle, and just over one in 10 said they lacked the confidence to participate in sport.

Nearly one third of people said they had no interest in the Olympics.

"In the UK we like to think we are a nation that loves sport, but perhaps we are more of a nation who loves watching sport," said Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won 11 Paralympic Games gold medals between 1992 and 2004.

"We know there is a disconnect between elite sport and participation."

"Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 billion ($25 billion/€23.7 billion) a year so this is not something we can keep putting off."

"Unless we look more creatively about how we engage everyone in physical activity, we may win medals but we will be bottom of the league table on health and well being.”