Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Sports funding carve-up hurts Ulster athletes

All true sportsmen will be appalled at the overt vote-catching carve-up of funding for local sport at the expense of our most- successful, lesser-attended activities.

While spectator facilities need improvement at our major arenas, these upgrades will do little or nothing for sporting participants.

Northern Ireland athletes have achieved world class status in cycling, athletics, paralympic events, boxing, squash, motorcycling, golf, horse racing, shooting, swimming and bowls. Much of that success has been achieved with limited, or almost non-existent, facilities.

Our track cyclists have been successful with the nearest training ground being in Manchester.

Just imagine the increase in performance our athletes could achieve with improved local training facilities. Northern Ireland would truly be on the map as a sporting nation.

I have an interest in a wide range of sports and find it difficult to understand the attitude of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

It would be a wonderful gesture if the IFA could see its way to forgo even a small percentage of its monetary windfall for the benefit of other sportsmen and women in Northern Ireland.

CLLR JIM FLETCHER (UUP)

Ards Borough Council

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