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Olympic legacy fails to boost sports participation in Newham

Christine Ohuruogu Christine Ohuruogu

Friday, December 13, 2013
11:10 AM

The percentage of adults participating in sport regularly in Newham, the home of the 2012 Olympics, is the second lowest in the London, according to figures released on Thursday.

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Statistics from Sport England, which covers October 2012 to October 2013, show just 29.56 per cent of people aged 16 and over in the borough are playing sport at least once a week.

Participation in Newham has risen by 3.4 per cent since before the Olympics and in London, more than 2.4m people are playing sport - 341,800 more than in 2005.

The numbers are a damaging blow to hopes that participation in sport would rise following the overwhelming success of the Olympics.

Although the figures for Newham has risen in slightly, it has featured among the bottom three boroughs since October 2011.

In a statement, Newham Council said their position was due to low levels of participation but maintained that action was being taken to improve and claimed a disparity in funding between London boroughs.

A Newham Council spokesperson said: “Getting residents involved in sport and physical activity is one of the key aims of the Olympic legacy and we are committed to delivering this.

“In terms of improvements made in sport participation, we are outperforming the majority of other London boroughs with this percentage increase.

“The figures also reveal a wide disparity in activity levels between Newham and other east London boroughs such as Barking and Dagenham and wealthier boroughs in West London such as Richmond and does not take into account funding cuts and deprivation levels.”

The Active People Survey is a semi-annual in-depth measure of the nation’s sporting habits - the biggest of its kind in Europe.

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