By Lynda Williamson
Scotland’s new multi–sport performance centre is to be built at the Riccarton Campus of Heriot Watt University. Edinburgh fought off strong competition from both Dundee and Stirling to host the new facility which it is hoped will support and inspire athletes to reach their maximum potential. The £30 million centre will offer top performance coaching, world class training facilities and cutting edge medical and sports science provision to the country’s elite sportsmen and sportswomen.
The Edinburgh facility which is expected to open in 2016 will include a replica of Hampden Park pitch, a synthetic 3G pitch, two floodlit goalkeeper training areas, two grass rugby pitches, five grass football pitches, three outdoor tennis courts, a nine court sports hall and a fitness suite. There will also be strength and conditioning and treatment areas as well as hydrotherapy.
Making the announcement Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The National Performance Centre for Sport will be the jewel in the crown for Scottish sport and help turn dreams into reality. It will be the best place for our elite athletes to mentally and physically prepare to compete on the world stage, helping more Scots win, more often.
“The Heriot Watt and City of Edinburgh Council team presented an inspiring vision which clearly demonstrated a positive commitment to developing high performance and a strong focus on partnership. I am confident they will deliver an iconic project, in a great setting, that takes Scottish sport onto a new level.
“Our vision for sport builds on the tremendous expertise at the sportscotland institute of sport and complements the increasing number of world-class facilities across Scotland where elite athletes are training, such as the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, the refurbished Royal Commonwealth Pool, the Aberdeen Sports Arena and the Tollcross Aquatics Centre.”
The announcement was welcomed by the deputy convener of Holyrood’s cross-party group on sport, Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian. Ms Johnstone who is a professional coach and former competitive athlete said:
“The rival bids from Dundee and Stirling had much to commend them but I always believed Edinburgh had the edge. I’ve been involved in sport in Edinburgh all my life and I see the performance centre as an opportunity to support our grassroots.
“The new centre will make it easier for Scotland’s potential sporting stars to access high performance facilities and coaching. Today’s announcement is a big step forward to bringing out our best.”
The Edinburgh bid partnership thanked all involved in the bid with special thanks going to the close on 5000 members of the public who registered their support at the Go Edinburgh website