A prominent gymnastics coach has voiced strong concern about facilities for her sport if Edinburgh Council proceeds with its plan to downsize Meadowbank.
Nicola Fielding has coached for a number of years at Meadowbank which is home to three gymnastic clubs and is where hundreds of youngsters take part in the sport every week. She said: ‘The equipment is not the best but I have still been able to turn out national champions.
‘At the moment we have a decidated hall in Meadowbank. That’s great because it is a sealed facility. All equipment is readily available and it’s easy for officials to look after children in their care.
‘The same can’t be said for multi-use facilities, which is what the Council propose to introduce. They want one sports hall with different sports separated by curtains. That means young gymnasts would share the same hall with other sports such as badminton and five-a-side football.
‘The issue I have with gymnastics is that a multi-use hall simply will not work. They tried the same at Drum Brae and look what happened. A young child managed to wander off and was found at the bottom of the road.
‘None of this should be news to the Council. I have mentioned this before and nobody listens to me.
‘Gymnastics is perhaps the biggest source of income to Meadowbank sports centre yet this doesn’t seem to have had any bearing on the proposed redesign. It would be physically impossible to incorporate the current gymnastics classes that Meadowbank offer into the proposed smaller facility.’
Save Meadowbank spokesman Kevin Connor commented: ‘Those who use Meadowbank know what is proposed simply won’t work for their sport. We have had complaints from athletics, cycling, squash, badminton, football, hockey and now gymnastics. The list goes on. It’s high time the Council listen to what people are saying and stop trying to downsize Edinburgh’s premier sports facility just because they want to sell the land for housing.’
A petition to ask the Scottish Government to provide more funding for national facilities is available on the http://www.savemeadowbank.org website.
(Released: Thursday 18 September 2008)