Boxing the nation's fastest-growing sport, says Australian Bureau of Statistics
News Limited Network
December 20, 201212:00AM
Ted Tanner, chairperson for Boxing Australia, said there had been a noticeable rise in the number of people taking part in tournaments. Picture: Josh Woning Source: Quest Newspapers
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BOXING, kayaking and running have punched, paddled and sprinted their way to become Australia's fastest growing sports, but gymnastics appears to be losing its bounce.
New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on participation in sport and recreation shows participation in boxing has increased by 131 per cent since 2005.
Canoeing and kayaking followed with a 113 per cent growth and running or jogging increased 100 per cent.
Ted Tanner, chairperson for Boxing Australia, said they had noticed more people taking part in tournaments or just getting involved in boxing training regimes for fitness reasons.
"People are realising the benefits of the dynamic movements of boxing. It allows them to work out both the upper and lower body,'' he said.
Participation in gymnastics has dropped by 50 per cent since 2005, acccording to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Picture: Daniel Berehulak.
The similar boost in running or jogging numbers has come as a bit of a surprise to officials.
"There has been no advertising or media push. It seemed to happen organically,'' Robert Boyle, president of the Australian Ultra Runners Association, said.
He has particularly noticed a growing interest in trail running, where people can navigate bush tracks between 10 and 100 kilometres.
"People enjoy the outdoors. They start off with small races but soon get hooked,'' he said.
On the flipside, interest in gymnastics is plunging, with participation dropping by 50 per cent since 2005.
Mark Rendell, CEO of Gymnastics Australia, was unconcerned however, disputing the statistics.
"Gymnastics currently has more than 144,500 Australian registered members, which is not accurately reflected in the ABS figures," he said.
"The participation rate of gymnastics has in fact increased significantly since 2005 by 37 per cent, which includes an encouraging 63 per cent increase in participation amongst the 16+ age group."
Walking is our most popular activity. Some 4,258,800 of us enjoy a stroll to get the heart rate up, while 3,089,300 say they head to the gym and 1,401,000 go swimming or diving.
The figures show that our rate of participation in sport of physical activity has dropped slightly from 65.9 per cent in 2005 to 65 per cent in 2011-2012.
Young Australians aged 15 to 17 have the highest rate of participation at 78 per cent while men outdo women.
"The participation rates of men were slightly higher than women, with 66 per cent and 64 per cent respectively,'' Andrew Middleton, from the ABS, said.