UK Athletics and scottishathletics have announced record athletics participation figures as they launch a 10-year ambition to make athletics the number one individual sport in the country.
The number of people commiting to athletics as members of clubs has increased dramatically in recent years with a 49% UK total growth in membership of athletics clubs between 2008 and 2015.
Figures are available as part of a joint report created by the Home Country Athletics Federations to demonstrate the successful rise in participation in the sport.
Increases have been seen across the UK with a rise of 45% in Scotland, where the number of members of athletics clubs rose from 7950 to 11,520 between 2008-2015.
With the IAAF World Championships and World Para-Athletics Championships coming to the UK in 2017, giving athletics the same profile it enjoyed during London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Home Country athletics federations believe the interest in athletics will continue to rise.
That excitement will continue with an Indoor World Champs in Birmingham and then the European Indoors coming to Glasgow early in 2019.
Mark Munro: We must strengthen in key areas
Mark Munro, Interim CEO of scottishathletics, said: ‘It’s a very exciting time for the sport in Scotland and we are one year into our four-year strategy for 2015-2019 – which is called ‘Perform When It Counts’. That strategy continues to ensure a clear direction for our sport.
‘The strength of athletics in Scotland will continue to grow and we will seek to build on the existing work and ensure clubs sit at the heart of what we do.
‘We will also continue to strengthen key areas within the sport – whether that be events, performance programmes or club, or development projects for coaches and officials. All of these are absolutely crucial to the sport moving forwards.
‘I’m pleased, also, to note that our club affiliation membership returns have shown a growth from 9,000 to almost 17,000 over the same period.’
Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of British Athletics commented: ‘I’m delighted to see these record growth figures over the last eight years.
‘It shows that athletics, the centre-piece of London 2012, led to a clear participation upsurge. With London 2017, Birmingham 2018 World Indoors and Glasgow 2019 European Indoors, the opportunity is there for UK Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Federations to increase these participation figures still higher.
‘It is this shared ambition which is outlined in our joint work: ‘An Athletic Nation strategy’.’