Swim hero Adam Peaty blasts Tory cuts as he demands 'end betrayal of our kids'
Olympic legend Adam Peaty today slammed the Tories over a woeful lack of investment in grassroots sports facilities.
Britain’s most successful swimmer demanded No10 stop closing pools and leisure centres and fund them properly to boost the nation’s health and produce our future stars.
Following England Women’s Euro 22 football victory and his own 50m Gold medal win at Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games this week, Adam said: “This has to be a platform.
“We really need the people in power to stop closing pools and facilities. We should hold the Government and councils accountable to make sure we invest in facilities across the country.
Thanks to National Lottery players, over £40million has gone to support the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, helping athletes from the home nation teams train and compete.
They include visually impaired para triathlete Oscar Kelly, 21 – National Lottery funding means he can buy the special kit he and his guide need.
Wheelchair racer Melanie Woods, 27, says the support allows her to compete at an elite level.
And travelling abroad to train was made possible for 16-year-old table tennis prodigy Anna Hursey.
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“We have to think about people’s mental health and well-being.
“People are struggling to deal with life and their emotions.
“You need access to sport and facilities. I know if I wake up in the morning and feel angry, I go training.
“We need that to create a happier and healthier nation.
“So many people from all walks of life use pools, not just those in elite sports. Learning to swim is important.
“What is the point of investing £24million every four years in British Swimming if we can’t invest in the next generation who need those pools to be open?
"You are shooting yourself in the foot. Over the last few years the Government has taken away a lot of pools and investment.”
The triple Olympic champion’s Tory attack comes after a probe by the Mirror this year found almost 1,000 council football pitches and sports fields have been lost since 2010.
Between 2012 and 2016, 600 youth centres closed, 3,500 youth workers lost their jobs and 140,000 youth service places were cut, according to local government figures.
Research by UK Active also revealed 79% of local swimming pools have shut. And while PM hopeful Rishi Sunak spends thousands of pounds on a new one at his mansion in Yorkshire, the Richmond public pool in his constituency faces closure due to a 400% rise in energy costs.
Adam, who took part in 2021’s Strictly, works with Swim United, a community drive to encourage kids into pools.
He added: ‘When I was younger, you could swim for £1 and in the summer for free. It needs to be accessible for everyone. We are facing a cost of living crisis where people have to choose whether to eat or heat their homes.”
Adam, 27, was roared on to Gold glory at his last ever Commonwealth Games by parents Caroline and Mark, partner Eiri, 23, and 22-month-old son George on Monday.
It came after a shock 4th place finish in the 100m breast stroke on Sunday. It was his first defeat in eight years at that distance. Adam hopes ministers listen to his pleas, and those of many others who warned about the impact of Tories cuts on sport in our probe.
He said: “Investment in facilities is a huge part of the legacy of these Games.”
Our investigation was into the legacy of the 2012 Olympics in London. Athletics legend Steve Cram, 61, told us: “I get annoyed when I hear about sports facilities closing down or not enough being done to keep them.”
Geoff Capes, twice World’s Strongest Man, warned spending on young people’s services had been axed by nearly £1billion in real terms.
He said: “So many local councils do not have the cash to fund sport for the next generation. It is horrendous.” Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams claimed the Government “does not take sports seriously” and joined the call for more investment.
She said: “It would have been devastating for me if I lost my club. There is no way I would be the Olympic medallist that I am today.” Swim England forecast the loss of around 2,000 pools by the end of this decade, making it the biggest challenge facing aquatics.
Chief executive Jane Nickerson added: “Without support, many more will close, which would be a tragedy.”
The Government said: “We have provided £1billion of public money to ensure the survival of the grassroots, professional sport and leisure sectors.
“This includes £100million which secured the survival and reopening of more than 1,100 swimming pools.”