Posts Tagged ‘sport’

This month we were joined by Chief Executive of Sport Wales, Sarah Powell. Sarah was appointed in September 2013 and is the first female to hold this position within the organisation. She has previously worked on the Sports Council for Wales with the Welsh National Governing Bodies (NGBs) of sport as well as heading the Performance and Excellence department.

Sarah Powell

Sarah Powell

Sarah also authored and implemented Wales’ Elite Sports Strategy which provided the framework within which Welsh athletes broke all records of medals won at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Beginning her address to the Breakfast Club, Sarah stressed the need to embrace sport within Wales and break down preconceptions that “Wales is a small nation punching above its weight.” Wales should seek success, including a bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth games, and “cannot and should not embrace second best.” Sarah pointed to the success of Frankie Jones, the inspirational Welsh gymnast who won gold in her last ever performance during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sarah also explained that we are currently witnessing unprecedented times in Welsh budget cuts, with sport being one of the areas to be hit the hardest. She said that: “I passionately believe that for too long sport and leisure have been seen as the soft options for cuts. In my opinion this is short sighted when sport and participation have such a vital role in supporting the health crisis.” She also stressed the fact that Sport Wales are still delivering despite these cuts – despite decreasing investment they have hit every target set out over the past 2 years.

Sport Wales is now engaging and working with business more than has ever been seen before. Yet Sarah says there is still a need to do more to continue to develop even stronger partnerships. She also stressed the fact that “it is people we need to invest in, not just ideas.” Steps also need to be taken to make sport more engaging across a wider spectrum of society.

To conclude her talk, Sarah stressed her belief that it is vital to work with the aim of “building a Sportopia – a Wales where sport is valued.” Since the World Health Organisation have cited getting physically active as one of the key steps for a healthier nation, it is easy to see why.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 20th January with guest speaker Trevor Williams, Chief Economist of Lloyds Bank. For further information and booking details, please contact susannah@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

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I really do agree with the comment in today’s Western Mail, ‘Exercise should be a natural part of life’.  The cost of dealing with the obesity problem in Wales, not first for adults but also for young children, will continue to mount otherwise.

A 10 year strategy involving all the key partners involved, i.e. Welsh Government, local authorities, Health boards, school-sports-day-006Sport Wales, parent’s associations etc, should be produced and achieved with regular monitoring.With 59% of adults in Wales overweight or obese, these figures are shocking. However, when you examine figures showing 28% of children aged four and under have an unhealthy body mass index, and 12.5% termed obese, it becomes ‘truly frightening’.

I know that Sport Wales have a number of excellent programmes involving school children which show an increase in young people participating in sport at least 3 times a week, but it’s not enough.

Every adult in Wales must sign up to the campaign to encourage children to take up exercise. Not necessarily sport, but just to start moving their young bodies further than just from kitchen, to lounge, to car, to school. Encourage them to appreciate the great outdoors, go for a walk, play in the park and breathe fresh air, not just stimulating the body but the mind also with new experiences.  Not all children are competitive so should not be forced to take up such a sport, just encouraged to move their bodies and show that exercise is a ‘natural part of life’.

The costs if we do not act now will be significant to our economy and our nation. Would it not be terrible with all our sporting heritage to become the most obese country in the world?

wales-rugby-teamLet’s wish our Welsh Rugby team all the very best for Sunday, and hope that their success motivates many more young people to take up sport and represent our country at the highest level in years to come.

What wonderful news this week about the prestigious IAAF World Half Marathon Championships coming to Cardiff in 2016.

running

After the great success of this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon, I felt totally confident that the Cardiff event organisers, Run 4 Wales under the chairmanship of Nigel Roberts could prevail in the recent pitch to the council members of the IAAF in Monaco. With the very best athletes both male and female from around the globe descending on Cardiff in 2016, with friends, coaches etc this is a huge opportunity to present our capital city to the world.

Let’s give every support possible to Nigel and all involved to maximise this opportunity to promote Cardiff in what will be an Olympic year.

Roll on 2016.