Fit for nothing

13th June 2003 at 01:00
For England, the third fattest country in Europe, to let its premier school athletics competition die seems particularly perverse. Ministers may be backing London's bid for the 2012 Olympics but schools' own championship is not deemed worthy of government, or business, support. It is hard to see method in this madness, which is symptomatic of the Government's schizophrenic attitude to school sport.

Yes, some schools could do more to make sport appealing to pupils. Too many children are put off athletics because they spend hours waiting for their turn to jump into a sandpit. But despite investing nearly pound;500 million, ministers have refused to guarantee PE the curriculum time it merits. This is one way of producing more heavyweights to compete in the shot-put - appropriately enough, the former Commonwealth champion was called Burger Lambrechts - but it does little for children's health.

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