England’s hockey teams tell Sunak and Truss to push team sports in schools

  • Medal-winning teams send letter to candidates for PM
  • Hollie Pearne-Webb says golden chance must not be wasted

The England hockey captain, Hollie Pearne-Webb, has urged the next prime minister to ride the wave of this summer’s sporting success and create a tangible legacy in schools.

After their Commonwealth Games gold medal, the women’s squad have teamed up with the men’s bronze medallists to urge Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – the two contenders for the Conservative party leadership – to prioritise team sports in schools and guarantee a minimum two hours of physical education a week.

“We all need to play our part and we urge you as our future Prime Minister to take the lead and invest in our collective futures,” said the letter.

Pearne-Webb, who was also a gold medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said: “The Lionesses kicked stuff off in terms of wanting to get more girls to play football and 100% little girls should have the same opportunity as little boys and we’re right behind that call. Ours is more focused on team sports so that every child, boy or girl, has the opportunity to have at least two hours minimum at school and to at least encourage team sports.

“We can push this and if this can be our legacy for the Birmingham games then we will be very happy as an England and GB wider squad for sure.

“There were gains after Rio but after time it starts to decline a little bit, so hopefully success in Birmingham can reignite that. The more successful we are the more limelight is on our sport, the more impact it has, and that’s our responsibility and to use our platform.

“Most people get introduced to sport at school and if we can get sport prioritised in the curriculum and get more kids involved it will have so many benefits for years to come.”

Among the measures the players are asking for are for every child to have access to a minimum of two hours PE and sport a week, for PE to be a compulsory national curriculum subject with team sports – including hockey – at the core and for substantial, targeted investment to improve facilities and the number of PE teachers in primary and secondary schools.

Do you have an opinion on the issues raised in this article? If you would like to submit a letter of up to 300 words to be considered for publication, email it to us at guardian.letters@theguardian.com


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