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How can we get our own Mo?

The gold medal success of Sir Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah has inspired many people to dust down their forgotten training gear and take up sport.

It is impossible not be affected by Olympic fever, especially as Team GB ran, jumped, shot, swam, cycled, and sailed into the record books during the London spectacular.

But Britain’s sporting feelgood factor isn’t limited to the five rings circling the Stratford stadium, especially with today’s news that Allerdale council has vowed to ramp up sports facilities across the area.

Alan Smith, council leader, has pledged to build a new £10 million leisure centre in Workington, but has also promised to look at the council’s unused land to see if more can be done to promote sport.

Convinced that sport is vital to ensure future generations have a chance at success, he said: “It is crucial that we offer the people of West Cumbria – not just Allerdale but the whole region – a chance to take part in sport.”

Times & Star Sport has spoken to local experts to find out what facilities West Cumbria needs to produce the next batch of international athletes.

Jeff Thorpe, of Cockermouth’s Tri Lakeland club, is a former professional footballer with Carlisle Utd.

He said that an athletics track is top of his list, and added: “I hope the games have inspired greater participation in an active lifestyle for the general population, eat a healthy balanced diet and do some sort of physical activity on a regular basis.

“But there needs to be the infrastructure in place to allow those who seek a competitive environment to excel in their chosen sport.

“Increased funding is needed to help volunteers gain coaching qualifications.

“In our region many talented athletes don’t fulfil their potential due to a number of complex factors.

“Hopefully the legacy of the games for West Cumbria will result in a healthier region and greater sporting success.

“An athletics track is needed with a cycle track that could be used for training, racing, or just general cycling.

“Keeping existing spaces and parks is vital to allow kids places to play.”

Steve Hughes, vice chairman of Seaton Athletic Club agreed that an athletics track with indoor facilities would help West Cumbria to become one of the top hot spots for track and field in the north of England.

He said: “What we do lack is indoor facilities. The closest for athletics is Manchester or Gateshead stadium.

“It would be amazing if Allerdale was the first region in Cumbria to create such a facility.

“With regard to the future, money must be spent on and funding grass roots sports.

“We cannot just sit back and admire what the 2012 games has achieved, because there is an abundance of young talent in West Cumbria.

“If it were to be a indoor facility then rugby, football, hockey, and netball clubs would be able to use it, and that would help development because the perfect conditions inside would be a lot better than the damp, Cumbrian weather.”

Lack of facilities mean our top sports stars now have to leave in order to progress.

Daneika Borthwick, the talented Aspatria tennis player, quit for America to continue her training after being offered a scholarship at Florida State University.

England golfer Seb Crookall-Nixon, of Papcastle, is torn between taking his scholarship at San Francisco University or joining the national team on a tour of Australia.

England cricketer Ben Stokes, of Cockermouth, and rugby union prodigy Rob Miller, of Bothel, continue to prove that West Cumbria is a hotbed of talent on the national stage.

Have your say

Its about time something was done about the lack of sports facilities in Allerdale. There is no Athletics track in Allerdale at all meaning the athletics clubs either have to train on inadequate fields or go elsewhere. Seaton AC travel to Whitehaven to use Copeland Sports Academy whilst the area's other junior athletics club Ellenborough AC has to make use of the school field at Netherhall School. In response to open eyes, at least there are pools for them to swim in, Athletics is completely overlooked in Allerdale and its about time something was done to address this

Posted by Bob on 6 September 2012 at 20:55

Congratulations on a relevant article but I suspect this is nothing more than post Olympic fever. Can someone please explain why we as a county are proposing to build yet another 25m pool. Basic research would have identified that cumbrians must travel to Manchester Sunderland etc to compete in the competition size pools. Cumbrian swimmers are massively disadvantaged by this and we are long overdue a 50m pool in Cumbria. Before building please consult with the Cumbrian swim clubs and you will see what I am talking about. You have in this county a rich crop of young swimmers including British record holders , British champions,competing at regional , England and GB standard. Please stand up and be counted by doing your research and giving these kids the best chance possible to succeed.

Posted by Open eyes on 20 August 2012 at 11:42

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