Sport is in Gibraltar’s DNA. We produce an astounding number of successful athletes for the size of our population. Sport is also at the heart of our social fabric; it is a place where we all participate and socialise, where we all abide by the same rules to compete and strengthen our bonds.
Sports Development Office
Together Gibraltar is looking to build on this great foundation we have, going straight to the heart of the issues that are blocking our sporting progress, whether at community or elite level. To prioritise this, we will set up a Sports Development Office (SDO) whose responsibility will be to tackle the issues and challenges set out below, amongst others. The Sports Development Office will report into the Gibraltar Sports Advisory Council (GSAC) and be guided by a structured development plan.
Institute for Sport
We will create and develop an Institute for Sport, working with international organisations, to provide world class, professional facilities for athletes where they can optimise their athletic and sporting potential. Among other factors, this will include a sports injury clinic, performance laboratory and strength and conditioning gym.
It is important for sports and leisure associations, clubs and individuals to be able to have access to venues. We often see sports venues lying vacant when they could be utilised by clubs or socially by community groups; we will allow greater access to these venues to encourage greater sporting and leisure participation in an unstructured and fun environment. Where there is competition for bookings, we will optimise the use of the available venues and distribute allocations equitably.
New Sports and Bouldering wall
Applications for venues for new sports will be channelled through the SDO. As an example of our commitment in this area, we will facilitate the provision of an indoor climbing facility with a bouldering wall. We will also seek to cater for regulated outdoor climbing in carefully selected areas, in close consultation with the relevant government bodies and NGOs.
Participation in Sport
We aim to increase in participation in sports across society. The physical and mental health benefits participation in sport brings are well documented and researched. We will encourage active participation across Gibraltar, no matter the age or standard. It should not be the sole domain of the elite. We will:
Support a series of Community Sports Days to open sport up to everyone, including those whose shoes are in need of a good dusting. This programme will be called ‘Sport4All’
We will seek improved participation and accessibility for the disabled and the elderly across sporting venues in Gibraltar.
Sport in schools
Sport in schools surprisingly declines once school children move to our Comprehensive schools. This is a cause for concern given that children now move to these schools at the age of eleven. Sport brings huge health benefits as well as favour those whose strengths lie in this field and may not be so academic. We will:
Work closely with the schools, sporting associations and the Department of Education to enhance structured, inter-house competitions across a broad range of sports in the comprehensive schools. These will culminate in inter-school competitions where those who distinguish themselves will be awarded with School Colours.
Seek to attract visiting schools and encourage external tours where feasible. This will be coordinated between the schools, sporting associations and the Sports Development Office. Investment in a Strategic Sports Development Plan at a grass roots level will provide a pathway to greater success whilst ensuring other health and social benefits.
The Summer Sports Programme will be extended to cover a longer period of time (both during the day and over the summer), allowing parents to place their children in the care of trained professionals while continuing with their working lives.
Funding in Sport
Distribution of funds in sport is arbitrary and very unequal. Netball is a shining example of a sport well run by the organising body with high levels of participation which does not receive the funding or attention it merits. We will:
Ensure that funds are allocated equitably looking at levels of participation and direct resources where the most promise is displayed. Funding will be assessed on an annual basis, in alignment with the Strategic Sports Development Plan, and The Sports Development Office will request reports and evaluate performance versus targets set. This will be put to GSAC for approval on an annual basis.
Identify sporting excellence and support it. We will continue to support Elite Sports and look to further opportunities for our athletes who display great potential by developing links with as many avenues as possible (via the SDO) who can fast-track and optimise their potential. Part of the Strategic Sports Development Plan will be the formalisation of a Talent Identification Programme and an Elite Sport Academy.
Maintenance, Sustainability & Innovation in Sport
Venues and buildings are often erected but not properly maintained. The venues constructed for the 2019 Island Games will need to be maintained to a high standard to ensure that taxpayer’s money has been well invested. We will:
· Not allow these venues fall into a state of disrepair and will seek to fund this in part by attracting international organisations and touring clubs/associations to visit Gibraltar, allowing them to use our world class facilities, including our Institute for Sport, for warm weather training and for tournaments.
As with everything we do, we will ensure that we respect our environment by seeking to roll out renewable energy alternatives and best practice environmental initiatives across all of our sport and leisure venues. We will also ensure that we procure environmentally friendly and ethically sourced materials and equipment.