October 15th 2008
Sport England has just announced the closure of the purpose built dojo facilities at Bisham (click here to read the letter).
This is despite all the protests from the Judo, Karate, Aikido, TaeKwon Do classes etc. You will note that this is another fine example of the shortsightedness and poor planning by the Sports authorities in this country. There is more than sufficient space in Bisham to develop fresh new areas without removing and demolishing permanently the existing facilities.
Over the past 2 years I have watched at Bisham as the political requirements have changed from Elite athletes to Grassroots then back again to Elitism. This only goes to show that there is no serious mid and long term planning in the higher reaches of the Sports authorities and as it has been shown by Beijing the flavour of the month is Rowing, Canoeing & Kayaking so 5 sports lose out to accommodate the possibility of a few more medals in these disciplines.
I understand the Times and Evening Standard are doing an in depth investigation into the disproportional use of available funds (note I say available not promised) as a lot has been promised but little delivered.
I believe I can speak with conviction and authority as my organization has funded the EKF from its inception which has allowed the EKF teams to participate in a number of events overseas, yet when the EKF has been to meetings with Sport England the bait of funds at some unrealistic future date has only served to make the EKF more determined to show by example what English Karate is capable of.
Now to the big one ------Tokyo next month and the WKF World Championships to which the EKF is sending a team of 16 plus 5 staff, sponsored again by Cyberbudo, costing a great deal of money to fly, accommodate and provide all the facilities the team needed. I feel that after this event the EKF should once more seek a meeting with SE to suggest a matched funds scenario (as suggested by SE in 2006). The EKF can provide all the documentary evidence of how much it has spent over the past 12 months then why can’t SE match it for 2009 ??? This would be a great incentive to sponsors in the difficult “credit crunch” times.
I wish I had a crystal ball to see where English Karate will be in 12 months time ?