Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London 'In Danger of Missing out on Legacy from Games'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London 'In Danger of Missing out on Legacy from Games'

Article excerpt


LONDONERS are "sorely" at risk of missing out on a lasting sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympics, the Mayor's Commissioner for Sport has warned.

Labour MP Kate Hoey criticised the Government for failing to produce workable plans that would increase sporting participation in the capital.

She also claimed ministers had neglected to plan for what would happen to some of the major Olympic venues after the Games.

"Some of the planning into that did not go into what the legacy would be early enough and now that the economic situation is getting worse we're going to be in a more difficult situation," she told the Commons.

"The legacy in terms of participation from Londoners has been sorely missed out. It has not been planned." Figures show that one in three children does not play any competitive sport at school with London having the worst record in the country.

She also warned about a "facilities gap" caused by swimming pools and sports clubs closing because of funding difficulties. Ms Hoey, a former sports minister, said Boris Johnson will commit at least ?10 million of London Development Agency funds to help boost participation in grass-roots sport and would set out his detailed sporting legacy strategy in January.

"It will have one simple target in London, which is to increase participation in sport and physical activity," Ms Hoey told MPs. "That's not going to be easy..

No other Olympics have increased participation in sport and if we want to be different then we have to do that.

"We all know what's needed. We know we need more coaching and better coaching, that we need joined-up working between different groups, between school clubs and community groups." However, Ms Hoey had a word of warning for those who believed sport could act as a panacea to social problems such as violent crime and lack of aspiration in education. "Sport isn't a magic solution to the world's problems. While it can play a vital role, we do need the other interventions," she said.

It came after the Tories warned the Government would inflict a "gross betrayal" of its key Olympic promise if it failed to deliver a lasting sporting legacy. …

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