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Number 1 for Sport and the importance of building a healthy legacy.

Health, fitness, sport and the importance of role models.

Author: Legends/07 December 2016/Categories: Sports, Joy of Sport

The last few weeks have been a remarkable time for Scottish sport and tennis in particular.

Andy Murray became world number 1 on 7 November 2016 and will start 2017 as the man to beat. And brother Jamie with partner Bruno Soares ended the year as the world number 1 doubles partnership. An amazing achievement for the Murray brothers and their family.

And there was further glory for Scotland when Gordon Reid winner of two Grand Slams and Olympic gold in 2016 became the number 1 wheelchair tennis player in the world.

Many congratulations to all three who are at the top of their game and I am sure can’t wait for 2017 and all the opportunities it affords.

Undoubted role models their achievements should inspire youngsters to take up sport with some hopefully following in their tracks.

However on the day after Andy Murray won the ATP World Tour finals in London to cement his number 1 status, Clare Balding Tweeted about Andy’s photo and the accompanying story on the front page of a national newspaper.

Andy Murray World No 1

“Wouldn't it be good if the story on the left could have a positive impact on the story on the right?”   

Yes, on the day after one of Britain’s greatest ever athletes at the pinnacle of his sport there was a story about British children being bottom of the world’s fitness league and Scottish children at the very bottom. Truly depressing news.

Even sadder this story will come as no great surprise to many as similar studies have shown similar problems for a number of years.

I was invited to say a few words at the Triathlon Scotland AGM late last month and made mention of this story there. I was of course preaching to the converted.

There had been a really interesting discussion earlier in the day involving a number of our top Triathletes who formed an Inspirational Athletes Panel. When asked what inspired them to take up sport the most common answers were role models, an older or younger sibling who took part in sport and their parents.

Triathlon Scotland do great work from the grassroots level upwards of their sport but they can’t do it all on their own. The support of parents who are either sports people themselves or are willing taxi drivers is crucial as is the work of all the volunteers in clubs who coach or help at events at all levels.  

 There is no magic wand solution but it does require all of us to do our bit to try and help improve our children’s fitness which in turn has huge physical and mental health benefits.

Let’s build on the fantastic achievements of three Scots on top of the tennis world. We have not been regarded as a tennis nation before. But if we can enjoy such huge success in tennis why can’t we enjoy similar success in other sports and the associated health and fitness benefits which would follow?

That’s a challenge for us all.  



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