Kids shunning sport

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A “STAGGERING” number of Rotherham children cannot swim or ride a bike and have never run 400 metres, a new study has revealed.

The research has revealed a generation turning their backs on physical activity in favour of computer games and television.

A total of 1,500 children, aged between six and 15, were quizzed including youngsters from Rotherham.

The results showed twice as many spent their free time watching TV than playing sport, while around half surfed the internet, chatted on social networks and played video games.

The survey found 15 per cent of children could not swim, one in 10 had not learnt how to ride a bike, and almost a quarter had never run 400 metres.

A third of those questioned did not own a bike, but two thirds had their own mobile phone and three out of four had a games console.

The study was commissioned by Tata Steel ahead of a series of Kids of Steel mini triathlons being held this summer by the firm in steel regions including Rotherham.

The firm is aiming to give 50,000 children the chance to try out the swim, bike and run event by 2012.

Mike Hood, Tata’s HR manager in South Yorkshire, said: “Our aim is to get children excited about sport and to encourage participation in triathlon at grass roots level.”

A free triathlon, organised by the British Triathlon Federation in partnership with Tata, takes place at Maltby Leisure Centre, Rotherham, on May 26.