Swimming numbers plummet

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Swimming has seen a huge fall in participation numbers over the last year with 245,000 fewer people taking part in the sport.

Funding body Sport England says it is disappointed and concerned at swimming’s eight per cent drop which has significantly affected overall participation numbers in sport.

Overall, there has been a 125,100 fall in participation in sport in England according to the latest Active People’s Survey – so swimming has wiped out increased experience in other sports including athletics as well as team sports such as football and cricket.

In the year ending October 2014, 125,100 fewer people did some kind of sport once a week for 30 minutes – bringing the overall number down from 15.7million to 15.6million.

Swimming is still the country’s most popular sport with over 2.6million people taking part weekly despite the drop, which is certain to lead to a funding cut.

Sports minister Helen Grant, said: “There are 1.6 million more people playing sport regularly now than when we won the right to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2005 and I am encouraged that the number of 16-25 year olds participating is on the rise – proof that our youth sport strategy is working.

“But I am very concerned by the overall dip in participation over the last 12 months. Sports governing bodies have long argued that they can bring new people to their sport and funding should go via them but some are simply not delivering and it’s not good enough. ”

Tennis, golf and basketball have also experienced drops in participation while cricket and netball are among those to have r eversed earlier trends and recorded growth.

Other sports on the up include canoeing, mountaineering, taekwondo and fencing.

Grant said governing bodies who had not increased participation now stood to lose some funding.

She added: “I expect Sport England to take tough decisions and redirect funds from governing bodies that are failing to projects and organisations that will deliver.

“We may also need to look at setting bespoke targets so that sports up their efforts in getting more women, BME people and those from a lower social economic background into sport.

“Sports governing bodies should be left in no doubt that public funding to them is a privilege not a right.”

Published: Thursday 29th January 2015 by The News Editor

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