Highlands & Islands

Rio 2016 Team GB success spurs on Inverness sports hub plan

Team GB and Northern Ireland cycling medal winners Image copyright Allsport/Getty Images
Image caption Scots athletes including cyclist Katie Archibald, left, helped Team GB to second overall on Rio 2016's medal table

Highland Council's leader says the success of Team GB at Rio 2016 should inspire plans to build a regional sports hub in Inverness.

A business case for the local authority's proposal has been submitted to the council's finance service.

Councillors agreed last year that an idea for sports hub offering a velodrome and facilities for gymnastics and other sports should be progressed.

Margaret Davidson said the local authority has to be "ambitious".

Team GB finished second overall on the Rio Olympics' medal table, behind the USA and ahead of China.

Scottish members of the team, including cyclist Katie Archibald and tennis player Andy Murray, were among the gold medal successes that helped GB to secure second spot.

Highland Council leader Ms Davidson said: "Olympic medal winners never got anywhere without being ambitious. So let us be ambitious.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Gymnastics would be among the sports the hub could cater for

"We have ambitious plans for the future of the Highlands and we are right to be ambitious.

"We want to have excellent sports facilities that will be available for all of Highland's young people to perform their best.

"Just look at the wonderful success of Team GB in the Rio Olympics.

"Congratulations to all those involved, particularly our own Stephen Milne scooping a silver medal for swimming and Inverness rower Alan Sinclair's success in coming fourth and narrowly missing a medal."

Image copyright Allsport/Getty Images
Image caption A velodrome forms part of the sports hub proposals

Ms Davidson added: "In order for our future generations to succeed they need the best possible facilities and opportunities."

She said it was proposed that the sports hub have a velodrome and also facilities for indoor tennis, gymnastics, athletics and judo.

The business case will be considered as part of Highland Council's capital programme review, which will go before councillors in October.

Councillors agreed in March 2015 to progress the plans.

Highland Council, which is working with Sportscotland on the project, agreed funding in September 2015 of up to £150,000 to develop detailed designs and an estimated cost for the hub.

The project did not form part of a major package of funding announced in March this year.

Drew Hendry, SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, told BBC Radio Scotland that he hoped Highland Council would push ahead with the sports hub.

He said he was optimistic that it would eventually be built.

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