ONE fundamental legacy goal of the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games was to inspire children and adults to more physical activity.

The way sportscotland measures this has been challenged, as they have a vested interest in the outcome. The methodology appears to allow walking round a gym to be deemed "physical activity". Independent audit has been proposed, to ensure transparency, but funding seems problematic.

Though most disciplines measured up well in sportscotland's post-2014 analysis, in at least one participation declined, while projected data for growth in squash was actually out by 50%, the quango has admitted.

Their picture of a general increase in participation numbers is distorted by the knowledge that this runs counter to everything that has emerged post-2012 in England.

There is no doubt legacy should be judged over time, but there are disturbing issues - not least a debunking of the belief that Australia is a nation of booming participation. Oz is routinely portrayed as an exemplar, pertinent given they're the last country to have hosted Olympics and Commonwealths in quick succession before Britain did so.

Roger Flynn recently stood down after nine years as performance director and national coach at Scottish Squash and Racketball. For 12 years previously, he was head squash coach at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne. Flynn, who coaches several world-ranked players, has now returned to Australia. We spoke to him yesterday, and it is clear he believes that despite sportscotland claims of dramatic improvement in physical education statistics, the Scottish PE system remains fundamentally flawed.

Flynn cited two academic studies:

In the 1980's, Professor Heinz Mechling, of Cologne University, carried out a longitudinal study of the relationship between co-ordinative skills and sport, academic, and career success. He discovered a high correlation between co-ordinative skill levels and achievement in the three areas. He recommended stimulating co-ordinative skills in the young would deliver the greatest impact on learning in each of the three disciplines.

The second, in 1995, was by Steve Moneghetti, Commonwealth marathon champion and world bronze medallist. His report to Victoria's state parliament drew on the expertise of educators, psychologists, sports scientists and academics. It recommended a minimum of two hours of PE plus two of sport be integrated into the primary curriculum. This became a mandatory requirement for all schools.

But those responsible for implementing the policy lobbied against it; the requirement was diluted to "optional"; and over five years sport and PE delivered in Victoria's primaries effectively was reduced to nil.

Some 30 years ago, The Herald revealed the findings of Dr John Pollatschek's Linwood Project. It demonstrated that primary pupils receiving quality daily PE were better behaved, had better retention and attendance, while academic achievement was maintained at worst, or improved.

These findings have been endorsed from the chief executive of the Association for Physical Education down, and reaffirmed by so many studies that it seems a no-brainer for adoption as national policy.

Yet in the current climate, where a supposedly-reputable senior ecclesiastical figure condemns sport and advocates removal from the curriculum, we face the policies of the madhouse.

Flynn's experience in high-performance sport and within schools and universities suggests the best performers are those with the most-rounded backgrounds – including sport, dance, gymnastics, art, music and academics.

The Glasgow 2014 Scottish squash team comprised a world-renowned embryonic stem cell researcher, PE teacher, three sports science graduates and an architectural design student.

"Research and my experience totally supports the positive impact of sport and physical education in schools," said Flynn. "Anyone suggesting otherwise is obviously either ignorant or pushing their own agenda to the detriment of the children.

"You have to get kids at primary age to improve hand-eye co-ordination skills. In Australia, I was getting kids of 12, 13, 14, who couldn't catch a ball – a beach ball, never mind a tennis ball.

"The myth of Australian sport is long gone. It may still be believed overseas, but the reality is that the bulk of the Australian population is centred on the State capital cities – and most top athletes don't come from cities, but rural areas. Our participation rate is as bad as anywhere else in the world."

Before the SNP won office, a target of one hour's activity per day for 80% of pupils by 2022 was set. The SNP discarded that.

By June 2008, two hours' weekly quality PE was supposed to have been achieved across Scotland. Hardly a single school had done so.

A sportscotland spokesperson said yesterday that in the four years to 2016, they are investing £6.8m in local authorities with £4.8m more from Education Scotland to help deliver PE. Hence an increase, from 10% in 2005 to 98 % this year, the number of schools meeting the targets.

Attention was drawn to the Active Schools network, which received additional £50m last year, extending it for a further four years. Last year there were 6.1m visits to sport and activity sessions.

But team sport outside fee-paying schools is in decay, and health and obesity stats are terrifying. In the light of the evidence, are we using sport, and PE, to the best advantage of our nation? Government and its agencies can surely do better.

They fail to get the best out of our children, not just in sport, but in preparing them for life. Failure to heed repeated evidence about sport and PE's potential to impact on our society can surely only be related to a need to deliver results within the span of a Parliament.

In doing so they put their own political well-being before that of society, to the detriment of our children. Sport is the least level at which they are disadvantaged. This embraces careers and academia, potentially blighting lives.