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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 17:04 GMT
'Wrong culture' for sporting success
Britain has the wrong culture for sporting success.

Where's the next Paula Radcliffe going to come from?
Could Britain produce another Paula?
That was one of the conclusions of the first Sport Summit, a one-day conference hosted by BBC Sport in partnership with UK Sport.

On a day which united the top people in British sport, delegates examined the health of sport in the UK and looked ahead to the country's future.

And two thirds of those present felt that Britain's culture was preventing it from achieving the same success on an international stage as rivals like Australia.

With a guest list that included representatives from all the major governing bodies in sport, plus Olympic champions like Matthew Pinsent and Chris Boardman, the debate was a passionate one.

Sport Summit guests included:
Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC
Richard Caborn, UK Minister for Sport
Francis Baron, RFU Chief Executive
David Dein, FA Vice Chairman
Brian Barwick, ITV Controller of Sport

"The real problem we have is the health of our young people," admitted sports minister Richard Caborn, as the first discussion - "UK United - Have we got what it takes?" begins.

"You have to start at a young age," said Caborn. "We need sport for the good of our nation."

A poll of the audience revealed that a third of those present believed British sport must be better organised if it is to be more successful.

By contrast, a survey of the general public on this website showed that the same percentage thought better facilities were the answer.

Steve Cram asked who should be responsible for the funding of sport in schools - the Department of Health or the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Double Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe put part of the blame for the troubles in British sport on the fact that government money is spent by autonomous bodies, which means that the sports minister is not directly accountable.

The audience was asked what we needed to do to get more children into sport - an issue which dominated the debate. 50% said we need more facilities and 41% better teaching.

The debate shifted to whether British people have the right attitude to be sporting winners.

Only 32% of adults in Britons exercise three times a week, compared to 57% of Australians and 70% of Finns.

Roger Black said too many children stop playing sport because of a fear of failure, and that "winning" should be seen as a personal objective rather than simply a matter of absolute success.

Here on this website we invited you to contribute to the debate via emails and voting in our online poll.

Thousands of you contacted us to enter your manifesto in our sporting debate.

Two winners - Annie Thomas and Jennifer Taylor - read their ideas out in Tuesday's debate.

The full results of BBC Sport Online's survey will be revealed on Wednesday.

Links to more Sport Summit stories


A one-day conference on the future of British Sport
Tuesday 25 March
BBC Television Centre, London


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