By Matt Clark
Local MP and sports fanatic Justin Tomlinson has been elected as the Co-Chair for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport (APPG).
The avid Swindon Supermanine and cricket fan was invited to become a Co-Chair by UK Sport and the Sport & Recreation Alliance, and is now co-chairing the group alongside Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, one of the most successful disabled athletes in Britain.
In his new role, Justin, until recently the Minister of the Disabled, hopes to promote the power of sport in creating a healthy society, as well as the potential that sport has to unlock opportunity across the entire country.
At the first meeting of the APPG for Sport, representatives from UK Sport announced their medal targets for the Rio Olympic Games and have presented a breakdown of the investment made so far when it came to meeting the medal target. The complete Rio Cycle investment for the 2016 Olympics has totaled £274 million with a medal target of at least 48. The Paralympic cycle has seen £72.7 million invested with a medal target of 121.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “It was a great first meeting and I made a point of the importance of supporting local sports club with the inevitable upsurge in uptake and involvement as a result of the Olympics and the athletes which never fail to inspire.
“Sport to me is important because I went to a school which was bottom of the league table where some of my ex-classmates ended up in prison.The reason that I managed to stay out of trouble is because I was too tired after playing sport with my friends every day.
“Sport has amazing potential; whether it’s disability sport, as portrayed heroically by our utterly inspiring team of Paralympians; whether it’s delivering sport to disadvantaged backgrounds, so that youngsters stay out of trouble; or whether it is simply promoting a range of skills including teamwork, competitiveness and motivation; as well as general health & well-being – both mentally and physically.
“The power of sport is huge. Tanni and I have worked on a number of issues together including promoting disability sport so it is great to be co-chairing the group alongside her.”