With London on the horizon, it’s supposed to be the start of an exciting ride for the next 3 years, with hugeinvestment and a legacy to last for generations to come. Well that legacy is already starting to crack, as this week the news that the EIS Indoor centre at Gateshead Stadium is under threat of closure – barely 3 years since opening. EIS staff have been given 2 weeks to clear their desks – it’s such a shame and quite ironic that a facility that the region had been crying out for and has helped so many athletes including myself, is being wound down at such an important time.
I’ve used the EIS since it opened and it’s made a great difference to my training, just to be able to train indoors throughout the winter is great. To have such a great facility lying empty would be a disgrace and completely detrimental to the whole point of hosting the Olympics in London, if we can’t sustain running EIS centres before the games, what chance do we have after the games? None.
There are a number of reasons why this isn’t working, mainly that lots of money has been wasted on athletes, on coaches, on management, on camps and more – also the centralisation to HiPACs, where athletes are taken from their comfortable training environment and their coach, and made to go to Loughborough, Brunel, Birmingham or LeValley to work with a ‘speciallist’ coach. It just isn’t working and as a result EIS centres like Gateshead lose all their best athletes.
I’m old skool, so I can cope with training in dusty old sports halls and on concrete concourses, but the London legacy is dying before it started.