About 29 million people in Britain over the age of 16 regularly take part in sports or exercise. The most popular activities are walking (including rambling and hiking), swimming, snooker and pool, keep fit and yoga, football, cricket, tennis, golf, rugby and cycling. Local authorities are the main providers of basic sports and recreation facilities for the local community. The Government is encouraging each local authority to develop a leisure strategy to ensure the provision of sporting facilities meets local needs
Four independent Sports Councils allocate grants from the Government for sports development, coaching and administration to governing bodies of sports and other national organizations. They also operate 13 National Sports Centres, which provide world-class facilities for training and competition at the highest level. The United Kingdom Sports Council, operating as UK Sport, identifies sporting policies for Britain; represents Britain's sporting interests overseas, seeks to increase its influence in international sports; and co-ordinates policy for bringing major international sports events to Britain.
In 2000 the Government intended to publish new sports strategy. This was based on:
- improving access to facilities and better coaching;
- achieving better health through sports and active recreation;
- improving sporting performance at all levels;
- maximizing the potential of sports creating wealth and employment.
According to the requirements of the sports strategy several initiatives have been designed to increase sporting opportunities for young people. These include specialist Sports Colleges, providing quality facilities and training to support the most talented and promising pupils; an Active Schools Programme in England designed to develop children's sports skills, and similar programmes in Scotland and Wales. Also a United Kingdom Sports Institute is being set up. This aims to provide world-class support services and training facilities to top level sportsmen and women, and co-ordinate a network of regional centres of sporting excellence. So far, the British have pioneered the following sporting events:
- the Football Association Cup Final at Wembley
- Wimbledon —one of the four "grand slam" tennis tournaments and the leading grass court event:
- the Open Golf Championship and the World Professional Snooker Championship;
- the Six Nations Rugby Union Tournament, held annually between England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France and Ireland;
- the London Marathon — which attracted a record 31,600 runners in the 1999 event.
rambling and hiking— пешеходный туризм и поход
to encourage smb— подбадривать кого-то, побуждать кого-то
a leisure strategy— стратегия досуга, развлечения
to allocate grants— выделять, присуждать гранты
to improve access to facilities— улучшить доступ к оборудованию, снаряжению
to achieve smth— достигать чего-то
the most talented and promising pupils— самые талантливые и перспективные ученики
top-level — высокого уровня, первоклассный
"grand slam"— одна из главных серий соревнований в определенном виде спорта
the leading grass court event — ведущее событие на корте