The Courier-Mail

Games to drive kids into sport

- DAN KNOWLES HAYDEN JOHNSON

A BRISBANE Olympics would be used to save a generation of kids from obesity and get them into organised sport, the AOC says, as it pushes state and federal government­s to increase funding for grassroots competitio­ns and bring back proper physical education programs to schools.

Despite Australia’s proud sporting reputation, which helped Brisbane this week secure “preferred candidate” status with the IOC for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympic­s, AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said some schools had limited phys-ed classes to nothing more than a walk around the oval.

The AOC has warned all levels of government that publicity campaigns talking up exercise have not worked to get kids moving or turn back the obesity epidemic. Mr Carroll (pictured) said organised sport gave kids physical and mental confidence, taught them lessons like perseveran­ce, winning and losing, and how to bounce back from adversity.

One of the pillars of the pitch that convinced the IOC to talk exclusivel­y to Brisbane about the 2032 Games was to “develop a healthier lifestyle and increase sports participat­ion” in Queensland.

Mr Carroll said getting primary-aged kids into sport set them up for r lifelong activity. “It’s It’s like anything else se in life, it’s about t setting habits s early,” he said.

“And I’m not talking about rec- reation hours rs where they go for or a walk around the bl block k and d that’s sadly, I’m told, what happens in some schools where ‘we’ll just go to the oval and sit’.

“That’s where it is important to get physical education teachers back into primary schools. That’s not sport, that’s not the discipline of sport.

“It’s about making the effort, it’s about striving, it’s about resilience, it’s about failing and picking yourself up and getting yourself going again. It’s not just the physical side.”

Mr Carroll said every dollar spent on community sport was stretched to $6 thanks to volunteers.

The state government, a partner in the Games push, plans to tip millions of dollars in to building world-class sporting facilities to get Queensland kids off the couch and into community sport.

New sporting facilities are expected to be created at the same pace as city-building transport infrastruc­ture.

Now the push is on to ensure the next generation of children live healthy and active lifestyles.

In Queensland, 24 per cent of children aged between five and 17 are considered overweight or obese.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said naming the sou southeast as an Olympi pic region would ins spire the next g generation of young Queensland­ers to get inv volved in sport.

“Nothing could get the kids of Queensland Quee moving lik like the excitement of an Olympic Games,” she said.

“We often talk about the hundreds of thousands of jobs, the huge windfall for businesses and the new infrastruc­ture that an event like this would generate. But one of the greatest legacies of a Queensland Olympics could be a boom in grassroots sport.

“If we end up securing the Olympics, this is a great opportunit­y to get thousands more Queensland­ers involved in sport.”

Queensland Sport CEO Peter Cummiskey said the prospect of a home Olympics would “be the making of Brisbane as a world-class city”.

“It’s the chance to realise dreams,” he said. “Every Olympics has a story of a young person who dreamt of wearing gold. These things have a habit of encouragin­g interest in sport generally.”

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