Securing Britain’s Sporting Chance

Toby Perkins MP

Toby Perkins MP

2012 promises to be the greatest sporting summer our often sports-mad nation has had the pleasure to enjoy.

Bradley Wiggins’ momentous victory in the Tour de France, followed the tearful and brave but ultimately unsuccessful assault on the Wimbledon Men’s singles title by Andy Murray, but neither his match with Federer, Wiggins two wheeled excellence or any Olympian feats will match the sporting event of the summer for me, when my close friend Jonny Marray, became the first British man to win a Wimbledon mens title in 76 years.

In emerging from relative obscurity to national hero his victory epitomised the archetypal ‘15 years hard slog overnight success’ that demonstrates again why sport continues to inspire and captivate new generations of youngsters to be the best that they can be.

In a fortnight he earned as much as he had done in the previous five years, such is the all or nothing nature of the sport. But more importantly than that, his rise to Wimbledon glory is an example to us all, that in sport as in life, what has held us back in our past is never as important as what we do with the opportunities life presents us with in the present.

And in this sporting summer we must all hope that the real London legacy will be that more young hearts will have the embers of future ambitions lit by the exploits they witness.

Sport (like the Arts) is a tremendously important facet of educational provision, and also a living embodiment of the Big Society that our government claim to be anxious to encourage. Across Chesterfield we have dedicated sports teachers and great coaches giving up their time to improve the Football, Rugby, Cricket, Tennis, Table Tennis, Athletics, Karate, Swimming, Horsemanship and much else beside of our young people.

A tiny number of these young people may match the exploits of a Marray or a Wiggins, but for thousands more the health, social and competitive benefits that they derive from their sport will sustain them through some of the challenges that life present them with.

Politicians are often keen to associate themselves with our top athletes; but what talented sportspeople most need is the support in the formative years to make the sport accessible and provide quality coaching.

The previous government’s School Sports Partnership (SSP) programme was a wonderful example of political will and volunteering excellence and it is a tragedy that its funding has been diminished.

Across Chesterfield as the Olympic torch came into town we saw beneficiaries of the excellent work of the SSP’s engaging in the sporting celebration and demonstrating how they had become more rounded by that exposure. Sport’s capacity to reach some of those that conventional education has failed to inspire is well documented.

So in this sporting summer, I am happy to salute the sporting endeavours of all those who light the fire of excitement in our young sports people and pledge to fight for those opportunities for the next generation in the years to come.

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF


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