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Nicola Sturgeon opens £12m National Sports Training Centre for Scotland

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One of Scotland’s most important national sports facilities reopened yesterday (30 August) following a £12m (US$15.5m, €13m) redevelopment, hailed as a “first of its kind” for its commitment to inclusiveness.

Paralympians and Commonwealth Games athletes joined Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and children from local schools, clubs and community groups to explore the new-look National Sports Training Centre Inverclyde in Largs, which is set in 86 acres of mature parkland.

Architecture firm Reiach and Hall designed the centre’s main new building, inspired by the flow of a gymnast’s ribbon.

The centre was co-funded by the Scottish government, North Ayrshire Council, and SportScotland – the country’s agency for sport. The latter undertook consultations with clubs, schools and governing bodies including Scottish Disability Sport to ensure the facility meets the needs of all users. Existing residential sports centres across the UK and Europe were studied to identify best practice.

Indoor facilities include an international standard gymnastics training facility, a 3G pitch, a multi-purpose sports hall, dance studios and a fitness suite. The gym provides Olympic standard weight platforms, free weights, cardio machines and an indoor sprint track, as well as specially adapted equipment for wheelchair users.

Outside, there are five full-sized grass football pitches, a synthetic hockey pitch, four synthetic tennis courts, a multi-use games area, a golf development course and target range and trail paths. An accommodation block provides 60 fully-accessible twin bedrooms with en-suite wetrooms.

The facilities are available to everyone from schoolchildren to high performance athletes, and the centre will deliver school and community programmes, host courses, and provide a home for high performance camps, with the specific needs of disability athletes catered for.

“It’s fantastic to have a facility like Inverclyde on our doorstep and it will make a huge difference to our preparations,” said Paralympian and World Boccia pairs silver medallist Scott McCowan. “The attention to detail means we can focus fully on our training and not worry about the practicalities.

“Normally when we are away from home training or competing, we have to adapt or make do with the accommodation and training equipment available. Here at Inverclyde all of our needs have been taken care of. Simple things like getting into bed or using the bathroom, which are normally a real challenge for us, have been made so much easier with the hoists in the bedrooms. It really is life-changing for us.”

Speaking about the benefits of the new centre, Sturgeon said: “We want to do all we can to encourage more people to lead active lives and the new centre is designed with inclusivity in mind, ensuring Scotland is even better placed to support our disabled athletes in their preparations and help to ensure sport and activity is accessible to everyone.”

The National Sports Training Centre – which has previously run training courses attended by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho – is the latest in a long line of sporting facilities to have opened or been redeveloped in Scotland in recent years. Others include the National Curling Academy in Stirling, Aberdeen Sports Village, the national performance centre (Oriam) in Edinburgh, the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, and the Olympia swimming centre in Dundee.

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One of Scotland’s most important national sports facilities reopened yesterday (30 August) following a £12m (US$15.5m, €13m) redevelopment, hailed as a “first of its kind” for its commitment to inclusiveness.
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