The Motor Sports Association held fringe meetings at both the Labour and Conservative party conferences in the past week to further its efforts in raising the profile of motor sport among the Westminster decision makers.
The MSA convened a panel including Damon Hill OBE, ITV Sport’s Steve Rider, Adam Parsons from the British Olympic Association, MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton, MSA Chairman Alan Gow and MSA Council Chairman Graham Stoker. They were joined last week in Brighton by Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe MP and this week in Manchester by Shadow Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson MP.
The debate was entitled ‘The next Jenson Button and Andy Murray: How best to develop skills in sport’. Both meetings offered a fascinating insight into the various aspects that contribute towards the creation of world class athletes and noted the challenges faced by all sports people in achieving the ultimate success.
Damon Hill was able to draw on personal knowledge to illustrate that the route to the top of a sport rarely follows a straight path and that experiences will vary from person to person. Adam Parsons reflected on the increased professionalism of many Olympic sports and the single-minded determination required by athletes to achieve Olympic glory.
Colin Hilton outlined the substantial investments made by the Motor Sports Association into the Whole Sport Plan that focuses on getting more people into motor sport, providing the opportunity for the most talented athletes to succeed at the highest level and supporting the infrastructure of the sport around the country.
In Brighton, the Sports Minister underlined the importance of sport to the country in terms of benefits for health, education and society in general and reaffirmed the government’s target to maximise the impact of London 2012 on the nation.
Then this week in Manchester, the Shadow Sports Minister stressed the Conservative party’s commitment to sport and physical recreation and explained that central government’s role is not to create successful athletes, but to assist the individual governing bodies in the efforts they are making to develop their sport.
Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive:
“The MSA has significantly raised its profile around Westminster in the past year. These fringe meetings are an important part of demonstrating that motor sport has a clear policy agenda and that we are taking a pro-active lead in the sport’s development. We have also been able to hold a number of important meetings with key politicians and special advisors about specific issues; it has been a very worthwhile exercise.”
Release MSA09-039: 7 October 2009