It is now just over a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. At the British Olympic Association we have been preparing for this moment ever since Japan was awarded the Games.
With our partners at UK Sport, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that our athletes in Team GB will be the best prepared and supported team ever to leave these shores.
Tokyo 2020 will be a great Games. The facilities and organisation will be superb but the team will face challenges of a very different order to London or Rio.
However, Team GB is in good shape. Olympic sport is an area at which this country is genuinely world class. It was an extraordinary achievement for a country of 67 million people to come second in the medal table in Rio.
If the Government continues to back us through the Spending Review and by protecting National Lottery funding, I see no reason why this success should not continue through Tokyo and onto Paris and Los Angeles.
One of the key drivers of this success has been the emerging strength of women’s sport. This is why everyone involved in Team GB backs the Daily Telegraph’s Girls, Inspired campaign so strongly.
Women accounted for 45% of the team in Rio and won 45% of the medals. At the recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, four of our five medals were won by women.
It is likely that our team for Tokyo, predicted at 371, will be the first to contain more female than male athletes including, as in London and Rio, many of the most high profile names. Female Olympic sport has never been stronger.
All this starts at school and in our community clubs. In a decade and a half’s involvement with sport in general, and Olympic sport in particular, I have seen a lot of school sport. Some of it, driven by the personal commitment of the teachers involved, has been excellent. Others more mixed.
That is why I believe that the Daily Telegraph campaign for physical education to be one of the core competencies of the OFSTED inspection regime is so important. By ensuring that all schools have to show the same commitment as the best, it will give our children a great start in life and help us continue our Olympic and Paralympic success in the years ahead.