Edition number 62; dateline 1 June 2012

Water Babies move to world class level
Baby and toddler swimming instructors are to benefit from a brand new specialised qualification developed by the ASA, the national governing body for swimming, and Water Babies, the world’s largest baby swimming company. The ASA Level 2 Extended Diploma in Coaching Learn to Swim (prefundamentals) (QCF) is the first of its kind to provide high-quality, specialist training to instructors. According to Water Babies, those instructors within their national franchise network will now be able to advance their skills, knowledge and qualities to a world-class level. Steve Franks, managing director of Water Babies, told The Leisure Review: “At Water Babies we often use the term ‘world class’ to describe our instructors without fully understanding and appreciating the responsibility that comes with that. We have now created a world-class qualification that will become a benchmark standard for the aquatics industry.”

Parks are for people, argues Colombian thought leader
Enrique Pealosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia and a world leader in sustainable urban planning, has argued that urban parks should focus on providing amenities for people. Speaking at the fifth International Parks Management and Leadership Conference held in Adelaide, Australia, he explained his belief that city planners should focus on catering for urban populations. “The way to measure if a park is good, or better, is how much does it attract and retain people?” he said. He was joined in his attack on current practice by cartoonist and social commentator Michael Leunig, who wondered why it is one park can be "so used and loved, held dear by people, and other parks are not; they're more vacant and almost haunted - it's as if people are afraid of them.” Leunig cited Central Park in New York as a famously well-used people's park, saying, “It's very effective and of course it's gigantic but the little parks are incredibly important also. These contemplation spaces, like breathing spaces for the mind, are places where people can sit and see a tree or lie on the grass... You can't go building apartments without parks."

Inverdale to host drugs cheat debate
One in ten Olympians cheat with drugs according to David Howman, the chief executive of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and, with timing redolent of Dwayne Chambers’ lawyers overturning a lifetime ban, Bloomsbury Publishing have booked award-winning sports journalist Richard Moore and BBC sports presenter John Inverdale to explore drug doping and cheating in Olympic sports as part of the promotion of Moore’s new book, The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final. The first book to be written about this event, one of the most dramatic moments in sporting history, Moore’s latest is the story of the Seoul final which led to Johnson being stripped of his gold medal after subsequently testing positive. Inverdale and Moore will discuss the pressure to win, the intense rivalry in Olympic sports and the lasting impact of the race on the consciousness of the sport, the Olympics and a global audience of hundreds of millions. Readers of The Leisure Review can win tickets to the 13 June event by entering a competition in this month’s Row Z column.

STA join 1 in 3 debate
After it emerged that only one in three youngsters can swim 25 metres when they leave primary school the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) is urging local authorities to follow the example of Shropshire Council’s Swim Academy which has seen the number of learners signing up to classes increase by 45 per cent. Zoe Cooper, STA Shropshire’s academy manager, said: “I am shocked but not surprised by the news that one in three primary school leavers cannot achieve the 25m target set by the government. Over the last few years, local authorities have faced budget cuts and schools have reduced the time spent on swimming, so it was obviously going to have an impact.” When faced with squeezed budgets in 2010, Shropshire Council worked with the STA to create the country’s first swim academy management model, using one common teaching system at its six leisure centres. The savings achieved by the introduction of the academy programme allowed the council to offer all participants enrolled in the academy aged 8 and under free swimming in public sessions and the model has now being emulated by Rochdale Borough Council, which has launched its STA Link4Life Academy.

Minton chipper at Sporta AGM
Sporta, which represents over 100 of the nation’s leisure trusts, recently held its AGM and dinner at Manchester City’s Sport City stadium with presentations from Baroness Glenys Thornton, who explained how the new public health arrangements will impact on the sector, “inspirational speaker” Darren Campbell, and David Minton of the Leisure Database Company. Minton, an official Friend of The Leisure Review, reported on his latest ‘state of the sector’ research which shows how the significance of cultural and leisure trusts has grown year on year since 2007. He also discussed the scope of the trust sector, which manages a sizeable number of other leisure activities and facilities such as 19% of all climbing walls within the UK and 27% of all public sector gyms.

Unlikely claims released by Sport England
Sport England are continuing to make claims for the efficacy of their legacy delivery with the headline figure of 80,000 receiving attention in some quarters. This, they say, is the number of 14- to 25-year-olds who “have been inspired to do sport in their own time in the first nine months of Sport England’s Sportivate Olympic and Paralympic legacy initiative”. The aim of the project is ostensibly “to give young people who currently aren’t playing sport in their own time the chance to find a sport they enjoy” and the mechanism is to provide eight weekly sessions free of charge and then encourage further participation in clubs. However, there has been dissent from some sporting quarters. One experienced sports professional, who asked not to be named to protect his identity as a member of the TLR editorial team, commented, “By arguing that the participants ‘have found the sport that makes them tick thanks to Sportivate and are now forming a sporting habit for life’ Richard Lewis seeks to promulgate the fallacy that short-term projects such as this are any more than Olympic legacy window-dressing. An action must be repeated somewhere between 16 and 25 times before it becomes habitual depending on which research you read but nowhere in the literature does it suggest that eight repetitions makes something stick.”





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Scotland won’t know what’s hit it on 30 June when the country’s first wakeboarding centre opens for business at the Foxlake Adventures site just outside Dunbar in East Lothian. Hailed as the “one of the fastest growing water sports in the world due to its accessibility and affordability to all ages”, wakeboarding is akin to snowboarding or skateboarding on water and uses an overhead cable tow rather than the boat employed by its rather less cool progenitor water-skiing.
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Friday 6 July
Andy Murray becomes the first British tennis player to reach a Wimbledon men’s singles final since the days when people who had not served a prison sentence were happy to be called Bunny. Matt Fox is looking forward to this weekend’s performance of Swindon: The Opera, for which he has written the libretto. Roger Hiorns’ work Seizure, which took the form of covering every internal surface of a council flat in blue copper sulphate crystals, has been painstakingly removed from its original location and will find a new home at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park next year. In France it seems that there is widespread public support for tax increases to support public services. Not good news for GB Wrestling as one of the members of the Ukrainian sparring team that have conveniently qualified to represent Britain at the Games tests positive.

Saturday 7 July
The other – some say ‘real’ – Olympics kicks off in Shropshire: the 126th Wenlock Olympian Games. The makers of The Killing are bringing their dramatic approach to life to the streets of Nottingham and it seems that tourism authorities in Majorca are now trying to move their island up market, targeting boozy Brits and Germans for litter fines. In London it seems that hotels are strangely not sold out for the duration of the Games, having had to cut their rates from the planned Olympian heights of extortion. Organisers of the British grand prix are now saying, ‘No, do come to the race.’ Serena Williams wins her fifth Wimbers title and Roger Draper explains to anyone who will listen how the LTA is all set to take advantage of an Andy Murray win to promote tennis; how the LTA will manage to claim any credit for his continued success is less clear but we’re sure he’ll be working on it. In France Bradley Wiggins pulls on the maillot jaune. In London QPR are planning to move from Loftus Road. And it’s still bloody raining.

Sunday 8 July
A report from CofE on last summer’s riots points to the social consequences of austerity measures and, they hope, sends a “clear warning note”. The security contractor G4S still has to train and accredit some 9,000 of the 13,700 security guards needed for London 2012; good job they’ve not been paid best part of £300 million to do it. Oh. Meanwhile, Roger Federer wins his seventh Wimbledon title. Move on, now everyone.


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