FORMER Commonwealth Games gold medalist Yvonne Murray MBE believes the new Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility can inspire young athletes to success at next year’s International Children’s Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The £32 million state-of-the art complex was officially opened last week and with a six-lane, 135m running track, throw and jump areas, and a strength and conditioning area.
And Murray feels it gives aspiring athletes the ideal platform to succeed.
Murray, now Senior Athletic Development and Events Officer for North Lanarkshire Leisure, said: “This indoor facility is something that we have needed in the area for such a long time, especially with the International Children’s Games just a year away and the Commonwealth Games in four years’ time.
“It’s so important to have the right facilities and the right equipment that will enable athletes to go out their and produce their best performances.
“Having been involved in athletics for over 30 years, and having been in Motherwell and Wishaw for 16 years working with all the clubs and athletes, I know how big a difference this is going to make.”
She added: “Having an indoor facility on your doorstep is fantastic as it doesn’t interrupt your training sessions.
“Before, athletes in the area have had to travel to Grangemouth for training.
“If the weather is bad outside you can come in here, that is especially important.”
Murray, who enjoyed one of her finest performances at the 1993 World Indoor Championships in Toronto, has been impressed with the attention to detail and the quality of the equipment which will be available for athletes at the local indoor arena.
The running track is the same surface which is used at the Olympic Games.
As well as this, the Ravenscraig centre is one of the few sporting institutions in the country which has its own starting and photo finish timing equipment and video analysis facilities.
“The detail in terms of the layout and technical equipment is second to none,” Murray enthused.
“Everything is brand new and up-to-date.
“This can be the difference between winning a gold medal or not – I absolutely believe that.
“The track is the same surface which is used at the Olympics, it’s specifically for sprint training and I can imagine we are going to have some really fast times here.”
Murray also feels the steel structures at the sports centre means the Ravenscraig steelworks legacy will live on.
She said: “It’s such an iconic building and the exposed steel work means there is part of history that still remains.
“When you look at the steel structures you remember what used to be here and that is so important to people’s lives.”