The number of people taking part in individual sports like has increased More women are taking part in sport in Ireland and greater numbers of people are partaking in individual sports, according to a new report from the Irish Sports Council (ISC).
The Irish Sports Monitor 2013 found that the gender gap for sporting participation was narrowing as a result of more women taking up sports.
42.7% of women now take part in sport of some kind, a rise of 3.7% on the figure in the previous study in 2011.
There has been a notable rise in participation among women aged 25 to 44, the report found.
ISC chief executive John Treacy told RTÉ Sport the results were “very positive” and highlighted the closing gender gap in participation as “very good news”.
Overall, participation in sport has risen from 44.8% in 2011 to 47.2%; the 2013 figure is the equivalent to almost 1.7m Irish adults participating in sport regularly.
Another notable finding of the report is the continuing trend towards individual sports such and running or cycling rather than team sports: almost four times as many people are involved in individual sports (41.5%) than are taking part in team-based activities (10.9%). The percentage of those playing golf has fallen, however.
The report suggests that emigration may be a factor in this trend, as team sports tend to attract younger participants, a cohort affectively to a larger degree by emigration.
“Athletics have obviously targeted [people] through the club system [with] the ‘Be Active’ campaign that they’ve run, and that has worked well,” Treacy said.
“I suppose a lot of people have joined them and come on ‘try days’ and all those kinds of things. So they’ve joined for that reason.
“People that get involved in clubs tend to stay with it longer, so we’d obviously encourage that.
“Cycling have increased their membership by about 200% in the last couple of years, and […] over 20,000 people are members of clubs, which is good. And they’ve offered something around insurance for their members, which is critically important.”
The report finds that those who do play team sports often played them in combination with one another, with, for example, 29% of those playing Gaelic football also playing soccer.
The study involved telephone interviews with 9,390 respondents aged 16 or over, with a random selection of landline telephone numbers and interviewing quotas to ensure a nationally representative sample of the Irish population.
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