Edinburgh’s open-top parade of Olympic medallists this afternoon turned into a Save Meadowbank rally.
Triple Gold winner Chris Hoy continued to voice his support for the cause. He was joined on the top deck of the bus by five members of Scottish cycling’s Youth Talent Team who train at Meadowbank. Posters were displayed in the Royal Mile and hundreds of Save Meadowbank banners were waved by spectators.
Hoy has made his position perfectly clear since returning from Beijing. He wants the City of Edinburgh Council to rethink its plan for sport provision and for the Scottish Government to provide the Council with adequate funding for what is a national facilty at Meadowbank.
He told the BBC it would be ‘a real pity, a real shame’ if the Meadowbank velodrome was lost. He continued: ‘Any number of young cyclists out there who could go on to become Olympic and world champions would never get the opportunity to try the sport. If the velodrome had never been at Meadowbank I would never have taken up the sport and I wouldn’t be standing here with all these people desperate to talk to me.’
Several campaigners were also inside Edinburgh Castle for the pre-parade reception. Allister Watson, who represents the East of Scotland Cycling Association, was one of them. He said: ‘The Meadowbank site is perfect for sport. It is very convenient because it is centrally located and contains a mix of facilities that is available to everyone. It is heavily used and often over subscribed. For the Council to want to sell Meadowbank and replace it with housing and a scaled down sports facility is simply ridiculous.’
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor added: ‘Alex Salmond has to match his rhetoric with hard cash. This is an ideal chance for the SNP Government to invest in sport and provide adequate funding so that Councils can maintain facilities such as Meadowbank.’