Mo Farah slams Gove for 'standing in the way of progress' on school sports

 

Double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah and his wife Tania have criticised the Government over school sport funding cuts and called on the coalition to protect the legacy of the Games.

Mrs Farah, who is helping her husband set up the Mo Farah Foundation, said the cuts, six months after London 2012, were a "huge shame" and "counterproductive".

She criticised cuts to sport at grassroots levels, and said more should be done for sport in state schools, particularly at primary level.

Speaking to the Observer, Mrs Farah said: "Having both come from a school where PE at grassroots level was widely accessible, taught and encouraged, Mo and I are acutely aware of the impact such a positive system can have on the younger generation.

"It was this particular system, along with the 'eye for talent' and useful knowledge from teachers such as Alan Watkinson (Mo Farah's former coach) that opened up the path of success for Mo.

"It is therefore a huge shame that six months on from the Olympics, which inspired the next generation of potential Olympic champions, there are to be budget cuts in primary PE and school sports partnerships.

"Not only should sport for youngsters be encouraged and practised on a regular basis for health reasons, but is is also at these early stages that gifted youngsters are 'discovered' and nurtured - Mo being a leading example of this."

Under the School Sport Partnerships, PE teachers at secondary schools could be released to teach at primary schools. But funding for the project ends this summer, the newspaper said.

Mr Watkinson, who coached Farah during the early days of his career at Feltham Community College in Hounslow, Middlesex, also accused ministers of a "dereliction of duty" over school sport and support for primary school teachers.

Mr Watkinson, who runs a sports partnership in west London, told the Observer: "I doubt I could ever feel a greater sense of ecstatic emotion that I did last summer.

"Mo is very grateful for the opportunities he was afforded at school and he and his family constantly engage with schools as part of the charitable work of the Mo Farah Foundation.

"They share the frustration of a large number of people that six months on there is no tangible commitment to a school sporting legacy.

"This was a new dawn for sport in this country. Suddenly everybody got the power of sport. Together we were all going to inspire a generation and provide a legacy for the children of the world.

"Unfortunately, nobody mentioned this to (education secretary) Michael Gove who steadfastly stands in the way of meaningful progress in delivering high quality physical education and school sport across this country."

Farah won the 5,000m and 10,000m finals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Mo Farah Foundation is planning a UK initiative encouraging children into sport and supporting talented under-privileged youngsters.

It also provides aid to Somalia and is planning to set up an orphanage and sports academy in the country.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor