Olympics: 2012 Games increase English sport participation
This year's Olympics and Paralympics in London has led to record numbers of people in England participating in sport, according to a survey conducted by Sports England after this year's London Games.
Some 15.5 million people aged over 16 were playing sport every week, according to the survey conducted over 12 months to October -- up 750,000 or 4.8 percent on the same period in 2011.
Since 2005, when the British capital won the Games bid, 1.57 million more people are participating in sport at least once a week, a 10.3 percent increase.
The sports funding and promotion body said the largest rise was among women, suggesting that the feats of Britain's female athletes such as heptathlon gold medal winner Jessica Ennis had proved an inspiration.
Most women were involved in cycling, netball, running, swimming and going to the gym.
Success in Olympic cycling, where Britain continued their domination of track events from Beijing and also saw its first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins triumph in the time-trial, has spurred greater involvement among ordinary people.
Some 200,000 more people are now getting on their bikes once a week than in October last year, bringing the total number of people cycling to nearly two million.
Cycling, athletics, tennis, judo, swimming and tennis, in which Britain won gold by the likes of US Open champion Andy Murray, were among sports which had seen a "significant increase" in participation, the Active People Survey 2011/12 found.
Participation in disabled sport was also up -- although at lower levels than among non-disabled people -- after massive interest in the Paralympics that saw a record 2.7 million tickets sold and athletes performing in front of near capacity crowds.
The London Games were designed to "inspire a generation" but the survey suggested that work is still required to increase participation in sport among the 16-25 age bracket.
Only 30,000 more youngsters were involved in sport once a week than 12 months ago.
For the purposes of the survey, once a week participation in sport was defined as at least 30 minutes of exercise of moderate intensity.
© 2012 AFP