Elise Christie: Opening pubs before indoor sports is 'backwards'

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Christie frustrated pubs to open before indoor sports facilities

The decision to reopen pubs and restaurants before indoor sports facilities is "backwards", says short track speed skater Elise Christie.

Some venues can open from 4 July in England and 15 July in Scotland, but there is no confirmed date in either country for indoor sports facilities.

Christie, Britain's three-time world champion, believes sport should be considered more important.

"Drinking is not a priority," the 29-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"It might be to the economy but why is that Britain's priority? There are so many people in Britain that love sport, that love working out.

"It is really good for mental health - drinking isn't. Drinking is not good for mental health at all, it just seems so backwards to me in so many ways.

"If you can open a pub, where people are going to be drinking and are more likely to break social distancing rules, get rowdy and touch each other and whatever else, then I don't understand how you can't open a sports facility."

Christie is targeting an Olympic medal in Beijing in 2022, having so far missed out on the podium.

The Games may be 18 months away, but the Scot is concerned she and others in the UK are losing out on valuable training time with facilities having been shut since 20 March.

"We go on about Britain being great and loving sport and being really into the Olympics - especially the summer ones - but now we have just gone: 'Forget about athletes and sport for a minute, let's just focus on what brings the money in,'" Christie, who has spoken openly about her battle with mental health, said.

"That is fine, but then when it gets to the Olympics again, what is going to happen is we are all going to be sat here scrutinising all the athletes again, and messing with their mental health.

"They are already stressed enough about the fact they can't train for their event that they have got to do."