Athletics

Question Time — Scottish Executive — General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 11:41 am on 9th March 2006.

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Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party 11:41 am, 9th March 2006

To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to ensure that Scottish athletes succeed at international level. (S2O-9187)

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

The Executive is fully committed to ensuring that our top athletes have the best possible support to allow them to perform at their best on the international stage.

Photo of Michael Matheson Michael Matheson Scottish National Party

I am sure that the minister will want not only to support the ministers who are heading over to the Melbourne games but our athletes, to whom we wish every success at the Melbourne games.

The minister may be aware of the athlete personal award scheme, which UK Sport runs and which it describes as being

"to ensure that athletes can train and perform to the highest levels" in the run-up to Olympic games.

He may also be aware that, at the last winter Olympics, some 40 per cent of the athletes in the Great Britain team were Scotland-based athletes. However, is he also aware that, under a freedom of information request, UK Sport published a document this week that highlights that only 20 per cent of athlete personal awards had been made to Scottish athletes? Why is that the case, and what action does the Executive intend to take to ensure that Scottish athletes get a fair share of that funding?

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

The question of support for Scottish athletes is a complex one in which facilities, coaching and training, broadening the base and, of course, individual support need to be taken on board. The Scottish Institute of Sport's six area institutes also support that general activity.

On the general point, I will ask the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport to respond specifically to the detail of the question. I am standing in for Patricia Ferguson this morning and I am not fully acquainted with the detail of the matter. However, I can say that various organisations and bodies that represent the different areas of Scottish sport are involved with sportscotland in distributing money and support to Scottish athletes. I will ensure that Michael Matheson gets a detailed reply.