Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

EACH Au­gust and Septem­ber that the Olympics and Paralympics be­gin, I feel that we should cel­e­brate the fact that Buck­ing­hamshire was the birth­place of the Par­a­lympic move­ment, at Stoke Man­dev­ille.

Our Par­a­lympians are train­ing hard for Rio and I hope the ath­letes will en­joy the same golden glory as they did four years ago dur­ing the Lon­don games – not to for­get sil­ver suc­cess and bronze bo­nan­zas as well. Good luck to our ath­letes and to ev­ery­one like their coaches and fam­ily mem­bers who sup­port them, too. Ear­lier in the sum­mer, we were all de­lighted for a bit of a break from the po­lit­i­cal roller­coaster to cheer on Andy Mur­ray as he won his sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle, but all credit to the BBC who raised aware­ness of the play­ers who also won ti­tles dur­ing the wheel­chair tennis com­pe­ti­tion.

Gor­don Reid won the men’s sin­gles and with his part­ner Al­fie Hewett won the men’s dou­bles. Jor­danne Whi­ley was vic­to­ri­ous in the women’s wheel­chair dou­bles. (Let’s not for­get that an­other Bri­tish player, Heather Wat­son, won the mixed dou­bles ti­tle too.)

Cer­tain groups, in­clud­ing peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, are ‘ sig­nif­i­cantly less likely to play sport and be phys­i­cally ac­tive than the pop­u­la­tion in gen­eral.’ These words come from a gov­ern­ment re­port, Sport­ing Fu­ture: A new strat­egy for an ac­tive na­tion, pub­lished last De­cem­ber.

Sport Eng­land is to set out tar­gets to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport, by early 2017, to be agreed with the gov­ern­ment.

The def­i­ni­tion of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is to take part for 30 min­utes a week. There is a lot of dis­cus­sion with the or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sent­ing sport about how to make their sports more ac­ces­si­ble.

One other de­vel­op­ment is to recog­nise that in the past the def­i­ni­tion of ac­tiv­ity may have been too for­mal and thus a new sur­vey called Ac­tive Lives looks at ex­tend­ing this to in­clude a wider range of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, rather than lim­it­ing this to the tra­di­tional sports.

DO­MINIC GRIEVE MP for Bea­cons­field

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