Parkour recognised as official sport in Britain by UK Sports Councils

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Rebecca Barry

Parkour has been officially recognised as a sport in the UK - the first country to do so.

Known for its dramatic pictures of people climbing and jumping over buildings and walls, the sport has slowly entered the public eye in recent years.

But despite its growing popularity, people have voiced concerns over Parkour, describing it as potentially dangerous and reckless.

Developed in France throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Parkour UK - also known as free-running - was established in Britain in 2009, and applied for official recognition in 2013.

With approval having been granted by the UK Sports Councils, Parkour UK could now apply for national lottery funding and grants to promote the sport to be taught and promoted in schools across the country.

  • UK leads way recognising Parkour

Almost four years since first applying for recognition, Parkour is now an official sport in Britain.

The application was considered by Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, sportscotland, Sport Wales and UK Sport, with the decision announced by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch.

On Tuesday, she 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."

She added: "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."

President of Parkour UK, Sebastien Foucan, said: "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."

  • Why has the sport come under criticism?

Free runner Nye Frankie Newman died on New Year's Day in Paris Credit: Brewman/Facebook

While the sport has grown rapid in popularity, it has been criticised by some who see it as encouraging recklessness and posing serious health dangers.

On New Year's Day, a popular British freerunner, Nye Frankie Newman, 17, died after an incident on the Paris Metro.

His friends denied Newman had been "train-surfing" at the time.

The sport, however, has led to several deaths in recent years of young thrill seekers who have fallen to their deaths when stunts went wrong.

Cambridge University has been particularly critical of the sport - popular in the city due to its plethora of ancient buildings - and labeled it a form of "trespassing" as well as "endangering public health and their own health".

  • What is Parkour?

A number of people have died participating in Parkour Credit: PA

Often practiced in urban spaces, participants aim to get one from point to the other by running, jumping, swinging and climbing over buildings and walls.

It involves skillful gymnastics type movements over, under and through buildings in a "flow" movement.

There are no specific rules in Parkour obstacles, although safety remains a concern while maintaining the "flow", or the continuous movement from one obstacle to the other.

The sport has a popular presence on social media, with videos of impressive stunts on high buildings or moving platforms going viral.