BBC Radio interviews for Ed Accura, co-founder of the Black Swimming Association (BSA)
Black Swimming Association (BSA) co-founder Ed Accura has been interviewed on a number of BBC stations after warning that white, middle-class athletes will continue to dominate Britain’s Olympic swimming squad for at least another 30 years.
Mr Accura, who is also the producer of the Blacks Can’t Swim series of documentaries on SKY and Amazon Prime, says that there are deep-rooted cultural and economic barriers that prevent youngsters from working class minority backgrounds from accessing the sport.
Research suggests that less than five per cent of Black and Asian children are currently regular swimmers, and fewer still compete at regional, county, or national level.
The closure of affordable inner-city swimming pools and the rising cost of club fees, lessons, and equipment is said to have precluded many people from the African, Caribbean and Asian communities, which on average earn 16 per cent less than white workers.
But the ingrained stereotype that minority ethnic groups have ‘heavier bones’ and are less buoyant than white people, though untrue, is also to blame for low participation.
While the number of participants is rising, it could take decades before the African, Caribbean, and Asian communities are meaningfully represented at commonwealth, world, or Olympic level, he added.
Accura – author of A Visual Journey of Blacks Can’t Swim, which chronicles his own swimming journey – said the statistics have life-threatening implications.