Thirteen MSPs have already put their name to a motion congratulating Chris Hoy on his recent performances at the World Cycling Championship in Manchester and calling on Edinburgh Council to retain a cycle track in Scotland’s capital city.
Hoy won two individual Gold and one team Silver medal to take his tally of Olympic and World Championship medals to an incredible total of 20. That at a time when Edinburgh Council plans to demolish the Meadowbank velodrome where Chris and many others learnt their skills, with only the promise of talks about a possible replacement.
“Edinburgh should honour his achievements by providing and enhancing track cycling facilities in the capital,” said Green MSP Robin Harper, who proposed the motion. Harper also highlighted “the important role that the velodrome at Meadowbank Stadium played in Chris Hoy’s development as a track cyclist” and noted “that without the provision of a track cycling facility in the city many would lose the opportunity of involvement in one of Scotland’s most successful sports.”
Harper’s motion has been supported by MSPs of all parties. Sarah Boyack (Edinburgh Central), Mary Mulligan (Linlithgow) and George Foulkes (Lothians list) have all put their names to it.
Allister Watson, who is the East of Scotland Cycling Association track secretary and a director on the board of Scottish Cycling, commented: “If Meadowbank was to be demolished, the loss of the velodrome would leave Scotland with out the only track facility that has provided a significant level of competitive success on the international stage over the last 25 years.
“We know it takes at least eight to ten years to develop young athletes into medal winners. With the prospect of no other Scottish track until early 2012, any chance of Scottish medals in the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be severely limited.
“During the initial sessions at the velodrome there has been alarm from parents and youngsters that their track is going to be taken away with out any discussion as to what will take its place.
“If the young riders in Edinburgh loose their track, they will drift away to other sports or, worse still, to no sport at all.”
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor added: “MSPs from the Highlands and Islands to Dumfries have supported Chris Hoy, and recognise the need for the provision of cycling facilities in Scotland’s capital.
“Edinburgh Council needs to reconsider its current plan for Meadowbank because last month it approved a report that indicates about two thirds of sporting facilities will be lost to make way for a housing development. At a time when Scotland and the UK is set to host the Commonwealth and Olympic games, it is clear that Meadowbank needs upgraded, not sold off and downsized.”
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