Karate kick-starts participation among girls

Women and Girls Sport Week 2017 #myjourney

KARATE is the fastest-growing sport for girls in Scotland, according to new figures.

As the first Scots Women and Girls in Sport Week gets underway, the martial art tops the list of percentage increases, with a massive leap of 248 per cent.

Dodgeball saw a 221% increase in participation, while cross country running (120%), Tennis (97%) and rugby union (89%) all saw strong growth.

The top three sports by total participation sessions are netball, football and gymnastics, according to data collected from the Active Schools programme.

In terms of numbers of participants, netball (308,601 to 484,737); football (185,238 to 325,659); and gymnastics (108,750 to 201,635), saw the largest rises.

The figures revealed karate rose from 9,915 to 34,544; dodgeball from 7,450 to 24,004) and cross country from 34,694  to 76,279. Rugby went up from 29,121 to 57,460, a similar rise to tennis (from 21,798 to 41,232)

Sports Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Increased participation in sport and physical activity improves health and wellbeing, helps with self-esteem and, at the elite level, brings international success. As our first-ever Women and Girls in Sport week will show, increasing numbers are getting involved in the such a diverse range of sports.

“For a long time, activity levels among girls has trailed boys and we know there is much more still to do. That’s why we’re working to address the barriers that too many girls and women still face when it comes to getting involved.

“From the Olympic podium to the grassroots, there is a huge amount of success to celebrate across Scotland. The week offers a fantastic opportunity to highlight positive stories while driving the changes that will encourage more women into sport and physical activity in the future.”

Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week runs until October 8, with a programme of activity which aims to encourage more women into sport and physical activity, raise awareness of those regularly taking part at all levels, and address the barriers that lead to lower activity rates among women.

The statistics measured growth over six years from the 2011-12 to the 2016-17 academic years, and is based on the top 20 participation sports in Active Schools.