Capital celebrates winning bid to host national sport centre

Edinburgh has won the race to be the location for the new national sport performance centre, beating off strong competition from Stirling and Dundee.

The successful bid by Heriot-Watt University, in partnership the City of Edinburgh Council, to host the £30m facility was announced today by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said: "This is tremendous news, for the bid team and, I believe, for the future of performance sport in Scotland.

"We have the go-ahead to create a world class sporting facility, combining the expertise we already have at Heriot-Watt, with a tremendous location, design and setting which have proved a winning formula and will continue to do so for Scotland's up and coming sports men and women.

"I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in our bid, at Heriot-Watt, at the City of Edinburgh Council and all of our external partners, consultants  and backers. Our real reward, however, isn't winning the bid, but will come when the Centre is up and running and we can see it making a real difference to Scotland's sporting future."

Cllr Richard Lewis, the Council’s Sport convener, said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for Edinburgh and all those who love sport across Scotland. Heriot-Watt University and the capital will provide an excellent home to the next generation of top athletes and those involved in helping them achieve their aims. Our bid enjoyed great support from the community and local sport groups will also be able to take advantage of this world-class facility on their doorstep. I’m really looking forward to working with Heriot-Watt as they develop their plans in detail ready for future Olympians and cup-winners in 2016.”

The new National Performance Centre for Sport will be built in the parkland setting of Heriot-Watt University’s extensive campus in the west of the city. It will feature a Hampden replica pitch, an outdoor synthetic pitch, four outdoor natural football and two rugby pitches, nine court sports hall,  a 3G indoor football pitch and a fitness suite, and world class facilities for sports science and medicine all linked together by a spectacular sports promenade.

One of the main features, created by top Scottish architects Reiach & Hall, is the centre’s roof, inspired by the angle and trajectory of what is recognised as one of the greatest goals in football history, Brazil’s Roberto Carlos’ strike against France in 1997.

The design has also been developed 'around the athlete', providing world class sporting facilities and services that will have a positive impact on the preparation and development of athletes, coaches and volunteers.

The site’s excellent transport links providing easy access to the city, Edinburgh Airport and the wider surrounding area, were also a key feature of the Edinburgh bid, which enjoyed the backing of top sporting celebrities including Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Steve Redgrave, rugby legend Gavin Hastings, footballer Michael Stewart and Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.

The Edinburgh bid partnership would also like to thank the public who provided their support, with Go Edinburgh website registering nearly 5000 pledges, as well as Edinburgh Airport, other local authorities, local sport organisations, and the many other partners that gave their backing.

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