Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 77 - 79)



  Chairman: Ladies and gentlemen, I should like to welcome you this morning and say what a particular pleasure it is to have you here as witnesses today.

Rosemary McKenna

  77. Anita commentated at and Sharron and Duncan both swam in the Cumbernauld International Swim Meet in the late 1980s and early 1990s and it was a great pleasure to see you there. It seems to me that is a very good example of how things have deteriorated in the sport. The local authority at that time put a small but significant amount of funding into that opportunity. The reorganisation of local government and all that has gone with that has meant that the authorities do not have the will or do not have the cash to pump prime those kinds of events. You will not be surprised that I asked Danny McGowan to make a submission to the Committee because of his involvement in swimming in the UK. I am going to base my questions on the very report I asked him to do. Danny, as you know, was both a Scottish and UK coach and team manager. His first point is that he feels that we have addressed the issue in UK terms in terms of junior and senior elite athletes, that the Lottery funding has enabled that area to be supported in a much better way than it has been in the past. Would you agree with that?

  (Ms Lonsbrough) Yes, particularly with the starting potential, that is going to help our youngsters coming through tremendously. Lottery funding has been supporting our juniors and seniors for some time now and it has enabled them to get more competition and more training when it is needed and the right facilities with the top coaches.

  78. You feel that the strategy is right there, that the support is right, the funding is right to deal with what we need to have in the future, to enable us to get champions like Sharron and Duncan.
  (Ms Lonsbrough) We shall never have enough funding.

  79. No, but is that strategy right, that we have got that bit in place and we now need to look at how we bring through the younger swimmers?
  (Ms Lonsbrough) The starting potential is going to help that tremendously. Our new national performance director is very keen to see that we build a very broad pyramid and he has brought his ideas into focus with the starting potential and hopefully in a few years to come we shall see that coming through.

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