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  • Comments: 0
  • 05 August 2013 00:00
  • in Government
  • Visits: 13812
  • Last Modified: 15 October 2013 04:14
  • (Current Rating 5.0/5 Stars) Total Votes: 60

We must tackle inactivity as part of the London 2012 legacy says Coe

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London 2012 chairman Lord Sebastian Coe said getting young people across the UK more physically active must be a major part of the ongoing legacy story of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Coe, who is Prime Minister David Cameron’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador, is playing a leading role to help ensure that the huge success of the Games continues to inspire people to take up sport in communities across the UK.

"The big challenge is the lack of activity; the average child is 50% less active at the age of 15 than they were at 9 years old in the UK – that is not sustainable,” Coe explained.

"The big challenge in the delivery of physical education, but more importantly the well-being of the nation, is inactivity.

Unless the first experience of young people in sport or physical activity is a positive one then they won’t continue.

"Secondly you have to integrate physical activity into the lives of young people, so unless kids really have physical skills and abilities by the age of 10 or 11 then it’s really difficult to pull that territory back.

"Particularly in the lives of girls, and that’s why I think Jess Ennis’ win was so important on so many levels because she does connect specifically with young girls.”

Coe, who is now the chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), also stressed that there shouldn’t be too much concern at the fact that Sport England revealed a slight dip in participation in their most recent figures

"We shouldn’t sit mithering over a set of participation figures that from one month to the next will vary, sometimes they will flat-line and occasionally they’ll drop,” said the double 1500 metre Olympic champion.

"The overall story is a good one, since 2005 when we won the right to stage the Games, 1.5 million more people are now playing sport.

"A good chunk of them are between 16 and 25 years old.

"Volunteering has gone up 6% in the last year, philanthropic giving has gone up about 5%, completely against the trend.

"We mustn’t claim too much around the Games but there are things to me that clearly are not coincidental.”

Coe continued that the overall legacy story of the Olympics and Paralympics is off to a good start but said the overall impact of the Games for the UK cannot be judged on 52 weeks.

"I think we’ve made a good start, but it’s only a start,” explained Coe.

"It can’t be 52 weeks.

"The legacy for school sport is a really good example.

"That was the commitment of a Prime Minister to recognize that school sport was not in a great space.

"And it was the first time in my political career that I have sat round a table discussing sporting activity in primary schools with Secretaries of State for Health, Education, Cabinet Office, Culture, Media and Sport and the Prime Minister all in attendance – that in itself is quite a strong legacy when looking at sport."

To view the full interview with Lord Sebastian Coe, click here 

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