Could fishing be set for the big league?

Commonwealth Games 2022 to highlight our sport

Could fishing be set for the big league?

by Angling Times |

FISHING could soon be taking its first steps towards finally being accepted as an official sport in major events such as the Commonwealth Games.

While a raft of diverse activities such as surfing, skateboarding and climbing have all made their debuts at these global sporting competitions over the past decade, the angling community’s calls for inclusion have always been overlooked.

But that could be about to change after plans were revealed to host an angling event between the competing nations immediately after next summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Young anglers from more than a dozen countries will take part in a match on the Shropshire Union Canal on October 22, with representatives chosen via a combination of qualifying events in the preceding months, such as the ‘National Celebration of Young People in Fishing’ in September, which last year attracted 202 participants, and various other selection criteria.

The new development is part of the Let’s Fish/United by Birmingham initiative, and is being coordinated by the Canal and River Trust (CRT).

CRT boss John Ellis hopes that it will finally see angling accepted as a permanent fixture in global sporting events.

“I watch the Olympics and Commonwealth Games and see some of the events taking place and think, ‘Angling is the equivalent of those sports, why isn’t it included? I think it’s long overdue, and it’s something I want to see happen in my lifetime. And why shouldn’t it? We already have various World Championship events in fishing,” he said.

John is also hoping that the matches will serve to boost the number of young anglers wanting to represent their country at the top level, an area he feels needs addressing.

“There are worryingly few youngsters who have the ambition to represent their country. When I was a kid we all looked up to people like Ivan Marks and Kevin Ashurst, and wanted to emulate them, but I don’t see evidence of that ambition quite as much now. I hope that events such as this will help to address that imbalance.”

Commonwealth Games 2022 to highlight our sport
Commonwealth Games 2022 to highlight our sport

How you can take part

If you’re aged between seven and 20 and would like to take part in the National Celebration of Young People and Fishing 2022, log onto www.canalrivertrust.org.uk for details. Entries open in spring, and all those who register will be entitled to one free two-hour coaching session through the Let’s Fish programme.

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