If I’ve got my sums right, I’m about to play in the first game of my 20th season of competitive basketball. It’s a cliché, but the game has given me so much. Consistently told that I was bad at sports by teachers at school (because I couldn’t play football or cricket), basketball gave me self confidence, a group of friends from university who are solid to this day, and I even met my wife through the game. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it. If it can do this for me, coming from a fairly privileged, white, middle-class, Surrey background, imagine what it could do for disadvantaged inner city kids.
Sport England has withdrawn funding from a sport played and loved by disadvantaged teenagers throughout the country (over 200,000 people total), whilst funding our 45,000 canoeists to the tune of £20m. Modern Pentathalon gets £7m and has so few participants they don’t bother to keep a record.
How many potential Modern Pentathletes and Canoeists are kept out of gangs / life on benefits / prison through the sport? They should hang their head in shame.