The UK are the first country to recognise parkour as an official sport. The initial application began in 2009, and the road to recognition has certainly been a long one! As of this month, freerunning has gained recognition from all five sports councils and now has an appointed national governing body, ParkourUK, meaning they will be able to apply for government grants and National Lottery Funding. The official confirmation suggests parkour could potentially become an Olympic and Paralympic sport in future.
Johnson Reed are thrilled to hear of the official backing, having heard the struggle Frazer Meek encountered when he set up his freerunning park, Fluidity Freerun, late last year.
Speaking in November, Frazer commented, “We have a national governing body, Parkour UK, who have been working to get it recognised as a sport with a board of directors, meetings and qualifications and we have come a long way.
“As a relatively new art in the world, we haven’t been a fundable sport and to secure a warehouse and equipment has been a bit too out-of-reach for us and many others.”
Johnson Reed were able to secure the finance for the necessary equipment and apparatus Frazer needed to set up his first site, helping Fluidity Freerun open as the UK’s biggest bespoke freerunning park. Nothing tests the bounds of our Quirky Kit Finance!
But even with its new sport status, parkour still attracts controversy; not entirely helped by the way the practice is portrayed in the media and on social networks, Frazer says.
“We deal with public misconceptions daily. Unfortunately, the majority of parkour the public see happen to be of very high-level professionals after years of training, performing very calculated and well thought-out movements. As well as that, due to YouTube and adverts, the public see a lot of daring and intense feats, which can give off the wrong impression about what is a ground-based practice- it’s got nothing to do with being on roofs!”
Managing Director of Johnson Reed, Mark Johnson, comments, “The official recognition is a huge milestone for the practice, and we’re glad the formalities are in place.
“If any parkour businesses do struggle to access funding, however, Johnson Reed can help. Whilst your bank may have turned you away for finance of this nature, we understand the sector and the value the right equipment will bring to your business.”
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