Sport Northern Ireland, together with the home countries sports councils in England, Scotland and Wales, have announced their decision to officially recognise Parkour as a sport, making the UK the first country in the world to do so.

Parkour, also known as Freerunning or Art du Deplacement, is the non-competitive physical discipline of training to move freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping and climbing.

The recognition of Parkour/Freerunning as a sport and Parkour UK as the National Governing Body (NGB) by the Home Country Sports Councils – Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, sportscotland, Sport Wales and UK Sport follows completion of the UK recognition process by Parkour UK. As a recognised National Governing Body, Parkour UK will be able to engage more formally with statutory bodies and local authorities, strengthening their ability to advocate for the sport.

Sport Northern Ireland Interim Chair Brian Delaney commented:

“On behalf of the Sport NI Board, I congratulate Parkour UK on their successful application, and for all their work in promoting and growing the sport of Parkour to date. Sport NI is committed to helping local people enjoy, engage and excel in sport, and Parkour offers a unique and accessible way of getting active. We look forward to working with Parkour UK and Parkour clubs and organisations here in Northern Ireland as the sport continues to develop locally.”

President of Parkour UK, Sebastien Foucan, said:

“This is brilliant recognition for a discipline that started off as child’s play with my friends almost 30 years ago. The beauty of Parkour/Freerunning is that everyone, of all ages, can do it respectfully in almost any environment. We celebrate activity and playfulness whilst constantly challenging our mental and physical limits. It is more than just jumping, it is a health driven way of life” 

The recognition of Parkour/Freerunning as a Sport and Parkour UK as the recognised NGB in the UK was formally announced by the UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch at an event today (10th January 2017), at LEAP Parkour Park, Westminster Academy in London, with President of Parkour UK Sebastien Foucan, a founder of the sport, also present.

Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: “I want people to get out there and find the sport and physical activity that appeals to them and Parkour is certainly a fun, creative and innovative option. I am pleased that it has been recognised as a sport, giving it the platform for further growth in this country, with Parkour UK as its governing body. The sport promotes movement and using the great outdoors as a space to get active in and I encourage people to don their trainers and give it a go.”

Chief Executive at Parkour UK, Eugene Minogue, said:

“Parkour/Freerunning has come a long way since first arriving in the UK in 2003 with the seminal documentary, Jump London and Jump Britain in 2005, both staring Sebastien Foucan. This was followed up by Jump Westminster in 2007, which led to the creation of Parkour UK. Parkour/Freerunning is now in the vast majority of primary & secondary schools, colleges and universities all over the UK. It’s now been formally recognised as a sport as have Parkour UK as the national governing body, we have successfully built a qualified workforce of over 600+ people, we have led the development of a British, and now a European standard for Parkour Equipment and as a result have 50+ Parkour Parks across the UK – all the space of just over 7 years! This is unprecedented and is testament to the unique and diverse Parkour/Freerunning community in the UK, which is world leading!”

Director of Sport at Sport England, Phil Smith (for and on behalf of the Home Country Sports Councils) said:

“As the number of people involved in regular sport and physical activity continues to grow, choice becomes increasingly important. Parkour has already been offering something different for a few years now, but what recognition means is that Parkour UK is taking responsibility for its organisation. The safety and enjoyment of those taking part is paramount, so congratulations to Parkour UK on achieving the standards and showing their ambition to grow even further.”

Parkour UK and its community are pioneering  innovative programmes, including: Parkour for Mental Health, Parkour for Older People, Family Parkour as well as Parkour/Freerunning academies. Parkour/Freerunning offers something new, innovative and engaging to those who want to get active but may find mainstream sports or activities unappealing.

More information on Parkour UK, and on Parkour organisations in Northern Ireland, can be found at www.parkour.uk