Sport England launched a new initiative Friday to get more of its citizens involved in sport, and to help those who can excel in their discipline get to the top. With the Olympic Games headed to London in 2012, Sport England is hoping to capitalize on the attention surrounding the games to inspire more people to take part.
It announced goals to get one million more people doing more sport, cut by one quarter the number of 16 year olds who drop out of five key sports, and improved talent development systems in at least 25 sports, among other benchmarks.
For British Cycling, the new initiative falls right in line with the approach it has taken over the past decade, and with multiple Track World Championship titles in the bag, the results appear to be successful.
British Cycling's CEO, Peter King, thinks the additional support of the government can help the sport grow even more. "National Governing Bodies have always been at the heart of sport and the bedrock of success will always be their clubs, coaches and members, who comprise competitive sport, regardless of the political context of funding for sport. The more support and resources that can be directed at that level through the NGB framework, working with Sport England at all levels, the more medals will be won and the more people will play sport."
While the program has specified that it would seek to improve access to facilities for swimming, King thinks that it should also widen this approach to encompass cycling to produce traffic-free facilities for cycle sport as well as resolve access issues for events on public roads. "I made it clear at the briefing at Number 10 that our Sport needs a home and as such we need investment from Government to develop new traffic free facilities for all our disciplines which will enable us to significantly accelerate our current growth in participation and sustain our position as the world's leading cycling nation."