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Britons would forgo Olympic success for better access to sports Claims Poll

Posted: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:54

London 2012 promised to 'Inspire a Generation' to take up sport but it and Rio 2016 managed to convince no more than seven per cent of the country to do so, according to a new survey.

Only four per cent of people also said they would prefer Great Britain to focus on winning gold medals at Tokyo 2020 ahead of investing in grassroots programmes and facilities.

The survey, commissioned by the charity Pro Bono Economics, has been published amid the biggest ever revolt against Britain's Olympic and Paralympic medal-winning formula.

Just this week, seven sports lost their appeals to UK Sport against its decision not to fund them in the build-up to the 2020 Games.

Now, the responses of 2,000 people to a survey carried out by YouGov suggests the British public does not value winning medals anywhere near as much as the Government which serves it.

Instead, they believe taxpayers' money should be focused on community sports centres and making entrance fees more affordable (18 per cent), the reinstatement of school and public playing fields (14 per cent) lost in the mass sell-off since the 1980s, support for local grassroots sports and fitness initiatives (14 per cent), and improved physical exercise in schools (13 per cent).

Of the 93 per cent not inspired to take up sport by the Olympics, expense (17 per cent), a lack of local facilities (12 per cent), or local facilities that are of poor quality (6 per cent) were cited.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) respondents blamed their busy lifestyle, and just over one in 10 (12 per cent) said they lacked the confidence to participate in sport.

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

Commenting on the survey, Paralympic legend Baroness Grey-Thompson said: "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.

"We know there is a disconnect between elite sport and participation. Currently inactivity costs the nation £20 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 wellbeing."

The survey was carried out in preparation Pro Bono Economics' annual lecture at The Royal Institution of Great Britain at 7pm on Monday.

Tags: Uksport, Olympics, No Compromise