State of scottish sport

28/11/10'KELVINHALL - GLASGOW'Imogen Bankier in action during the Mixed Doubles Final of the Bank of Scotland Badminton Championships
28/11/10'KELVINHALL - GLASGOW'Imogen Bankier in action during the Mixed Doubles Final of the Bank of Scotland Badminton Championships

Last week influential names formed a panel to discuss the state of Scottish sport at a BBC debate.

Journalist Tom English made the comment: “The first thing Scottish sport has to do is admit it has a problem”.

That indictment may be hard to take from an Irishman but perhaps it takes an outsider to see the state of flux of sport in this country.

National teams in major sports continue to disappoint, targets set to install a mandatory two hours of PE for each child have been almost universally ignored and many of our talented athletes continue to fall by the wayside.

Meanwhile, professional teams tend to be a commercial failure with the occasional exception of the hate-fuelled rivalry of football’s Old Firm.

So what can be done to stop the downward spiral?

I believe that football, hockey and rugby cannot continue to be winter activities.

Playing these sports in bitter cold only serves to put youngsters off sport while constant postponements and cancellations do not allow proper preparation for athletes.

At the same time university scholarships are more of an anomaly than a trend.

If the middle to top tier of athletes knew that their academic career could be carried on in conjunction with their chosen activity, perhaps less would fall through the cracks in their late teens and early 20’s.

During the debate, cyclist Graeme Obree argued athletic facilities at schools should be permitted to be used by pupils out of school hours, in addition their use needs to be free of charge.

With Glasgow 2014 on the horizon, surely it is pointless investing in hosting a Commonwealth Games unless there is a long-lasting legacy.

That will not happen unless the powers that be take a long look at themselves and start being creative in instilling a change in culture and attitude at all levels.

However, despite these problems, the southside remains a prosperous area for young athletes.

From runners Grant Muir and Luke Traynor, to badminton star Caitlin Pringle, to rugby players Adam Barnett and Rory Hughes to name just some.

East Renfrewshire council is one of the few which has stuck by a promise to provide two hours of PE to its children.

There are still many athletes in the southside who deserve more recognition for their achievements to encourage them to keep going and make that next step.

If you know of any such sportsmen or sportswomen, please get in touch at Gregor.hollerin@jpress.co.uk.