Record numbers take part in sport

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Record numbers of women and men in the East Midlands are playing sport, with 1.3 million taking part every week.

That’s an increase of 70,000 on last year.

Figures released by Sport England show 15.5 million people aged 16 and over are playing sport at least once a week, 750,000 more than a year ago and 1.57 million more than when London won the Olympic and Paralympic bid.

One of the main factors in this increase is the feelgood factor generated by last summer’s Olympics and Paralympics. Among those involved were local sporting aces such as Somercotes’ Paralympian fencer Tom Hall-Butcher and Belper’s Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport.

The strongest growth has been among women, with an increase of more than half a million in the past year helping to cut the gender gap present in sport.

The number of people taking part has risen sharply in the period since the London 2012 Games got underway, with strong increases in Olympic sports such as cycling and sailing.

Participation by disabled people has been rising steadily since 2005, but still lags far behind that for non-disabled people.

Sport England’s chief executive, Jennie Price, said: “We set the bar high in this survey. These results show we are on the right track.”

“I’m particularly pleased that many more women are taking up sports from netball and cycling to running.”

Minister for Sport and Tourism, Hugh Robertson, added: “One of the key legacy ambitions from London 2012 was to get more people playing sport – something that no other host city has managed to do. These are excellent figures and show that we are making good progress.”