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BOA chair Lord Moynihan calls for UK school sport overhaul

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Image: Lord Moynihan highlighted the role of coaching

British Olympic Association chair Lord Moynihan has said that it is "wholly unacceptable" that half of Team GB's gold medallists in Beijing four years ago were privately educated.

Speaking at a press conference during the London 2012 Olympics yesterday (2 August), Moynihan said that the large proportion of Olympic athletes with a private education was "one of the worst statistics in British sport".

He said: "It's wholly unacceptable that more than 50 per cent of our medallists in Beijing came from the private sector.

"It tells you that 50 per cent of the medals came from seven per cent of the population (according to official figures, 7 per cent of people in the UK are privately educated).

"There is so much talent out there in the 93 per cent that should be identified and developed. That has got to be a priority for future sports policy. I have spoken about it many times and I will continue to speak about it until there is not breath left in me."

Moynihan added that he wants to see more emphasis placed on school sports to increase the number of state-school pupils winning medals at major competitions.

He also highlighted the importance of coaches and the quality of coaching to ensure success at the highest level of sport.

Moynihan said more funding should be secured for coaches and praised the work of the likes of Robin Williams in guiding relatively inexperienced rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning to Olympic glory.

UK Sport welcomed Moynihan's comments. In a statement, the high performance agency said: "We wholly support the comments of Lord Moynihan that the coach of the Olympic athlete is often the unsung hero of a great performance.

"It would be fantastic to see these dedicated and vocational people better recognised, none more so than on the New Year's honours list. The profile of the coach is always in the shadow of the athlete or the team and it is right for their sacrifices and talents to be properly acknowledged.

"Over the last four years, UK Sport has invested £3.5m in development programmes aimed at the coaches employed in the World Class Performance Programme.

"UK Sport has also invested over £5m in the coaching pathway to build a sustainable system to ensure our coaches are amongst the best trained and supported in the world. Further investment of £5m has been secured as we build towards Rio 2016."

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British Olympic Association chair Lord Moynihan has said that it is "wholly unacceptable" that half of Team GB's gold medallists in Beijing four years ago were privately educated.
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