News that Scotland’s ‘track and field’ Commonwealth Games squad are to use a North Ayrshire hotel as their base in the final days before the Glasgow event gets underway next month has been welcomed by local councillors.
However, the fact that the team will travel into neighbouring
East Ayrshire to train has raised questions over the lack of top-class
athletics facilities in North Ayrshire. The previous Labour
administration of North Ayrshire Council, which was voted out of office
in 2012, signed a £380m contract in 2006 for the provision of four
schools and associated sports facilities, including an athletics track
at Laighdykes in Saltcoats. At the time, Labour councillors defended
the multi-million-pound cost by arguing that the schools and sports
facilities would be “state of the art”.
This week’s news confirms
that Scotland’s athletes will stay at the Menzies Hotel in Irvine, but
will use the Ayrshire Athletics Arena in Kilmarnock to hone their
performance ahead of the games. Last year the3towns revealed North
Ayrshire school pupils had been bussed to the Kilmarnock facility for an
athletics event: the supposedly “state of the art” athletics track at
Laighdykes had not been suitable.
Of the news that our
Commonwealth team will be staying in North Ayrshire before relocating to
the athletes village in Glasgow, the local Council’s SNP Cabinet Member
for Community and Culture, Cllr Alan Hill, said, “We are really looking
forward to welcoming the team, and I have no doubt they will receive a
great deal of support from our local residents.
for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is really building here in North
Ayrshire with the Queen’s Baton Relay arriving just one week ahead of
the Games – as anticipation is at fever pitch.”
Cllr Hill said
the Council has been working with local community groups and individuals
“to make sure the celebrations are to be remembered, and the arrival of
the track and field team will certainly add to the excitement.”