Video: Sports minister backs moves to close sports gap

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A GOVERNMENT Minister was shown the gymnastics skills of pupils at a Yorkshire school yesterday as part of a push to encourage more women to take part in sport.

Sports Minister Helen Grant was at Outwood Grange Academy, in Outwood near Wakefield, where she watched pupils in action.

Sports  Helen Grant visiting students at Outwood Grange School, near Wakefield.

Sports Helen Grant visiting students at Outwood Grange School, near Wakefield.

A keen athlete in her youth, Mrs Grant declined to demonstrate her own sporting skills yesterday but was full of praise for the work the school is doing to attract girls into sport.

She said: “I am here today at this wonderful school to see a marvellous demonstration of gymnastics but also to see what these girls are doing in relation to sport.

“As Minister I am very very keen to get rid of this gender gap, a two million gender gap between the number of men doing sport and the number of women doing sport and we want it to close.

“Sport is brilliant, it is a force for the good, it’s not just the health and fitness, its the confidence and self-esteem that it can give to people and all those important life lessons - leadership, teamwork, discipline, respect.

“I actually think there’s a sport out there for everyone and I also think governing bodies need to innovate more and attract girls and women and get them involved and where we are seeing best practice - boxing, netball hockey - we must share that.”

During her visit, Mrs Grant was wearing a t-shirt with the slogan “This Girl Can” and the Minister said sport had been an important part of her own formative years.

The Sports Minister said: “I grew up in the North, in wonderful Carlisle in Cumbria and I represented my county hockey, tennis, athletics, cross-country and was North of England junior judo champion so I could then, whether I can now, who knows?!