Dacorum feeling the effect of the Olympic legacy

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More people in Dacorum are playing sport than at any point since 2005, according to figures released by Sport England.

According to the Active People Survey, 43 per cent of adults in the borough are participating in at least 30 minutes of sport each week, compared to 39.9 per cent in 2005.

Participation figures hit a low between 2010 and 2011, when only 37 per cent of Dacorum’s over 18s took part in sport on a regular basis.

And the success in Dacorum reflects the increased participation in sport across the country – with London 2012 being credited as the main factor in the surge in interest.

The Sport England figures show that, nationwide, four million more men and women are playing sport every week than in 2005 when London won the bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games – and that most of the increase seen around the Games in 2012 has been retained.

Sports such as football, golf and cycling – one of the strongest performing sports of recent years – have all benefited from the post-Olympic boom.

British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said: “Our membership continues to feel the benefit of our successes in London 2012 and the ‘Wiggo Effect’.”

Throughout the country, the number of young people aged between 16 and 25 playing sport regularly has reached 3.86 million.

This is an increase of nearly 63,000 on the previous 12 months, with strong advances in sports such as basketball and swimming.

Among women, boosts in boxing and netball have helped to drive a year-on-year increase of 89,900, further narrowing the gender gap in sport.

Although there is still a substantial gap between the number of disabled people and non-disabled people playing sport, the figures for disabled people have been rising steadily since 2005.

The latest figures show an increase of 46,600 over the past year, with Paralympic sports like equestrianism and athletics growing in popularity.

Sport England chairman Nick Bitel said: “There’s a long way to go but it’s particularly encouraging to see the numbers for young people are now moving in the right direction.”

Minister for Sport and Tourism Hugh Robertson said: “We remain absolutely committed to delivering a lasting sports participation legacy from London 2012.

“The long term trend shows we are on track, with 1.4 million more people playing sport regularly since we won the bid in 2005.

“I am encouraged to see good underlying trends in the number of young people, women and disabled people playing sport regularly and confident we have the right strategy in place to continue to deliver long term increases in the number of people playing sport.”

For further information, please visit www.sportengland.org