Trends & Features

Record numbers playing sport in England every week

Record numbers of women and men in England are playing sport every week.

Sport England figures released on December 6 show that 15.5 million people aged 16 and over are playing sport at least once a week.

That’s 750,000 more than a year ago and 1.57 million more than when London won the Olympic and Paralympic bid.

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 in sport.

The number of people playing sport has risen sharply in the period since the London 2012 Games got underway, with significant 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 this week announced a £10.2 million National Lottery investment to tackle this.

“We set the bar high in this survey, measuring only the people who play sport once a week, every week,” says Jennie Price, Sport England’s chief executive.

“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.”

Price adds: “Sport needs to work even harder to attract and keep young people.

“So the investment in individual sports we will be announcing before Christmas will be strongly focused on getting more 16 to 25-year-olds playing sport.”

Two thirds of the sports measured by the Active People Survey have shown a positive trend over the past year, with athletics, judo, hockey, netball and swimming among those growing in popularity.

Cricket was among the sports that suffered during the wettest summer for a century.

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