Record numbers taking part in sport in wake of London 2012 Olympics

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Record numbers of women and men in the South East of England are playing some form of sport, with more than 2.6 million taking part every week.

According to new statistics that’s an increase of 148,000 on last year and over 200,000 since we won the Olympic and Paralympic bid in 2005.

Across the country, figures released today by Sport England show that 15.5 million people aged 16 and over are playing sport at least once a week.

That’s 750,000 more than a year ago and 1.57 million more than when London won the Olympic and Paralympic bid.

The strongest growth has been among women, with an increase of more than half a million in the past year helping to cut the gender gap in sport.

The number of people taking part has risen sharply in the period since the London 2012 Games got under way, with strong increases in Olympic sports such as cycling and sailing.

Of particular interest to Stoke Mandeville, which is considered the birthplace of Paralympic sport, participation by disabled people has been rising steadily since 2005, but still lags far behind that for non-disabled people.

As a result, charity Sport England has this week announced a £10.2 million National Lottery investment to tackle the gap.