What Bracknell Thinks: How do we produce the next generation of Olympians?By Becky Barnes
September 07, 2012
THIS week we asked our panel what they think needs to be done to continue Olympic success after Nigel Willis, who is a coach at Bracknell Wokingham Swimming Club, and father of local Olympian Andrew Willis, said education is the most important thing to produce the next generation of Olympians.
We also asked them how important is it to be successful at the Olympic games and what sports would they like to see at future games.
Clare Heffill, of the Alzheimer’s Society in Bracknell: “Television needs to make contact with all local sports clubs including disabled clubs and make a series of documentaries to keep sport in the public eye.
“The Olympics have proved that sport can change lives. The lottery funding has proved crucial in allowing our Olympians to train with the best coaches and without any kind of stress. You only have to talk to your neighbour to see how important it is, it has made the whole country feel great.
“As for future events, what about seven-a-side rugby, tap and run cricket, hole-in-one golf, geriatric football? Let’s have fun while we play!”
Binfield parish councillor Nigel Rennie: “Although the Olympics are the climax of any sporting activity, the Paralympics have demonstrated the true spirit of the event and Britain should be rightly proud of the memories that have been left for generations to come. Through the unselfish support of their families, friends and coaches our Olympians have gained both themselves and the United Kingdom a deserved place in sporting history.
“It therefore comes as a disappointment to know that sports in general are not high on the priority list of Bracknell council and with their ever voracious appetite to build on school sports grounds (Garth School), football pitches (Larges Lane) and golf courses (Blue Mountain) it is a wonder that we can produce any Olympians at all.
“These short-sighted policies may well blight Bracknell, but fortunately the spirit of our sportsmen and women is such that they will shrug their shoulders and move on to other facilities in towns with more enlightened policies and politicians.”
Ed Glasson, secretary, Unite, Bracknell Branch: “I’m no expert on any kind of sporting endeavour, so forgive me if it’s blindingly obvious, but I’d say the main thing, as with other aspects of education and upbringing, is to simply offer children the opportunity to try a wider range of sports.
“I recall a TV interview in the course of the recent Olympic equestrian events in which one of our gold medallists was asked to what she attributed her success and she simply said, ‘well, we always had ponies’.
“I’m sure we’d have even more medal winners if all children had the same wide range of opportunities.
“And there’s nothing greater in life, at any age, than to find something at which you can truly excel.
“Is it important to be successful in the Olympics? Well, not really, I can think of nations which do, who offer a good example to the world but others which definitely don’t!”