Enough hair gel and commitment

June 24, 2005 ,

ALTHOUGH it is three months since Wales’ Six Nations victory, the Grand Slam glory was relived in Parliament this week in a reception hosted by the Welsh Rugby Union.

125 years on from the founding of the WRU rugby is still important in Welsh life, as demonstrated by the euphoric celebrations back in March.

It used to be said that sport and politics don’t mix, but in reality they are intertwined.
The Millennium Stadium would not have been built without political decisions and public funds.

But sport has a role in helping politicians too.
Since 1982 adult obesity rates have tripled with 19% of Britons now counted as obese and 39% overweight.
The number of obese children has doubled since 1982.
Around 10% of six-year-olds are obese, rising to 17% of 15-year-olds.
This trend is related to a more sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets.
The success of the Welsh rugby team can be used by teachers and others to promote physical activity and healthy eating in children to try to combat obesity and the associated health problems.
The long term implications for NHS funding are easy to see.
Playing sport can help overcome some of the other problems we see in Wales.
Social exclusion affects some of the most deprived areas of Wales.
Sport can help to bring communities together providing a focus for young people, and reduce crime.
David Pickering from the WRU told us that every child in Wales who has a dream to play on the hallowed turf at the Millennium Stadium should be given the opportunity to do so.
The future success of Welsh rugby depends on the investment in young people, but so does the future of the NHS.
And with enough hair gel and commitment your child could even be the next Gavin Henson.