While five new sports, including ‘Sepp Blatter Accounting’, are set to be added to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, impoverished activities like ‘ultra-privation’ or ‘uber-penury’ are unlikely to make the cut. In fact, according to the World Bank, participation in ‘extreme poverty’ has fallen below 10%, putting it on par with English rugby as ‘something no one wants to be part of’.
Ministers, having investing a lot of time in not investing in welfare, had hoped a cut to tax credits might inspire a generation of disenfranchised athletes. However, using the poverty income figure of $1.90 per day, very few Premiership footballers fall into that category. A spokeswoman for Sports England said: ‘We’re poor but not really poor. I’m afraid to say that a Syrian orphan has a significant head-start on an obese British toddler. They’ve got the infrastructure to develop extreme poverty; with craters for pitches and landmines for goalposts’.
Despite other extreme sports having less inherent danger and more expensive specialized gear, Poverty-Max™ has failed to capture the public’s imagination. In the late 90s there had been a surge in the popularity for urban squalor, with teenagers regularly posting YouTube clips of themselves sleeping rough, eating from bins or wrestling with foxes. Yet tramp-running, skip-diving and bench-boarding still remain marginal sports.
The spokeswoman explained: ‘In sub-Saharan Africa, they employ rigorous muscle building exercises – like swimming the Mediterranean, dodging mortar fire or carrying their own body weight in rags. This is supplemented by isotonic ditch water and protein rich mud pies’. Yet Chancellor George Osborne tried to assure the Conservative conference that Britain would give destitution the global recognition it truly deserves and create a poverty ‘legacy’ far more sustainable than London 2012.