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Adam Peaty fears a lost generation of athletes in ‘worrying time’ for all sport

Adam Peaty has warned the Government a generation of kids taking up sport will be lost if they are prevented from getting active while leisure facilities are continually closed in national lockdowns.

The Olympic 100m Breaststroke champion and world record holder says it’s a ‘worrying time’ for all sport after swimming pools and leisure centres were shut until at least 2 December due to the latest coronavirus restrictions.

Peaty has continually questioned the decisions to close pools as part of the measures to control the spread of the virus, arguing leisure centres should be kept open so people have a place to go throughout the winter to keep fit.

Speaking after the latest round of the International Swimming League in Budapest, where Peaty claimed victory for his London Roar team in the 50m Breaststroke, he said: “People are going back into lockdown without a month of leisure activities, gym activities and having to train outdoors.

“It’s looking very bleak and my only worry is that we have a few more months of this and we’re going to lose a generation of athletes.

“What’s keeping them in place to keep going in their sport and look at the Olympics and say I want to do that because at the moment there is not much to do that.”

Peaty later posted on his Twitter feed: “It’s a very worrying time for all sport.

“If the Government aren’t careful, we’ll have a generation of kids not taking up sport resulting in a reduced talent pool of Olympians.

“We’ve all seen the data about transmission rates in leisure centres.

“Stay strong everyone.”

Safe as you can

Other Olympians have also called for the Government to reconsider the decision to close swimming pools.

Andy Jameson, who won a bronze medal in the 100m Butterfly at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and who commentates for the BBC on swimming, said: “Indoor and/or outdoor, even organised lakes should stay open.

“No changing room, no loitering, swim and go home.

“Safe as you can get and, most important, maintains physical and mental health.”

Sharron Davies has also backed the Swim England #OpenOurPools campaign and posted on Twitter: “Under 500 positive tests in 62 million visits to leisure facilities since last lockdown.

“We fight this bloody virus by being fitter. Don’t close what we have to help both physical and mental health.”

James Guy, who won two Olympic relay silver medals at the Rio 2016 Games, expressed his disappointment for club swimmers across the country.

He wrote on Twitter: “So sad that all the pools are closing. Feel for all the youngsters out there.”