Survival of Sport

By Maurice Andrews, 25th February 1980

With all the talk recently about the cancellation of the Olympics, and possible War as a result of the Afghanistan incident, one wonders if it is really ‘the end’. Be assured it is not.

The early Greek Olympics disappeared for a time, but were then revived. Our own local Dovers Hill ‘Olympick’ Games started by Robert Dover also disappeared for many years, were then revived and in 1819 when my Great Great Uncle Richard Andrews, was Clerk to the Dovers Meeting he was inviting entries for Backswords, Jingling, Bowling, Leaping and Running in Sacks, and Horse Races. Even today, Chipping Campden has its modern Games every year.

I note that 40 years ago this month, Broadway Athletic Club, together with St Gregory’s Athletic Club of Cheltenham, organised a Cross-Country Championship Meeting in Broadway Close Field, Broadway. Among the clubs taking part were such well-known clubs as Birchfield Harriers, Small Heath, West Bromwich and Birmingham Atlanta. The Midland Counties Women’s Senior Championship (cross country over 3 miles) was won by Mrs D. Harris (Birchfield Harriers) in 22 minutes 37 seconds.

Officials of the meeting were Frank Folkes (Secretary), Charles Chappell, Reg Warters, Charles Steward, Harry Dennick, Maurice Andrews, Bill Tustin, Alec Knight and Bob Nash.

Soon after that event most of the officials and the contestants were in the Armed Forces and the Broadway Club ceased to exist. Larry Cummins, the well-known athlete, urged the need to keep Clubs going despite the War, and though alas Broadway has no athletic club now, there are many in the country still organising so many events.

Whatever the outcome of the present uncertainty, whether or no the 1980 Olympics take place, whether or not the Afghanistan invasion spills over into more conflict elsewhere, in another 40, 50 or 100 years there will still be “bowling, leaping and running in sacks”. We are all hope so.

23rd February 1980