Olympic boost for Glasgow 2014

SPORTS fans have been clamouring for Glasgow 2014 tickets since the end of this summer's Olympic Games, it was revealed today.

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Sir Chris Hoy and mascot Clyde at Glasgow velodrome named in cyclist's honour
Sir Chris Hoy and mascot Clyde at Glasgow velodrome named in cyclist's honour

And more than 40% of Scots say the Olympics has made them more excited about the Commonwealth Games. Organisers of the 2014 event say the number of people keen to buy tickets doubled after the London event.

The latest progress report on the Glasgow event, which will see 6500 athletes and officials descend on the city in less than two years, shows planning for the Games is on track and on budget.

Between 2007 and the end of September this year, the organising committee spent £82million planning and preparing for the sporting extravaganza.

The Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and commercial income are funding the expected total cost of almost £524m.

Right now, 202 staff are working on preparations for the Games but that number is expected to rise to 376 by the end of March next year.

Many of the venues are complete with some already open to the public. The Hydro Arena at the SECC is expected to be complete by September.

The work involved in building the venue has been hailed as the most complex feat of engineering to take place in Scotland this year.

The central section of the arena's massive 123m diameter roof was lifted into position in June and all 16 seg- ments are in place.

Work has begun on the facade, made of translucent foil cushions in a material originally developed for the space industry.

The new Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome are finished and open to the public, work on Cathkin Braes mountain bike circuit started in June, the first houses in the Athletes Village are finished and work on the squash centre at Scotstoun sports complex is to be completed this year.

The new warm-up pool at Tollcross International Swimming Centre is finished, work has started on the national hockey centre and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre opened to the public in August.

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: "The last six months have been a real game-changer for the Organising Committee.

"We have reached a number of milestones and built significant momentum.

"The recent Commonwealth Games Federation Co-ordination Commission highlighted the progress we have made and the opportunity we have to deliver an outstanding Commonwealth Games.

"We remain confident but not complacent and focused on the task. There is a lot of hard work to be done by the Organising Committee, our Games partners and our stakeholders over the next two years to ensure we stage a Games of which Glasgow, Scotland and the Commonwealth can be proud."

City council leader Gordon Matheson said: "The London 2012 Olympic Games showed what a positive impact a mega-event can have on a country, inspiring many people in so many different ways.

"One impact was even greater enthusiasm for 2014 from athletes and people wanting to become involved, whether as spectators or volunteers.

"Any visitor to Glasgow will be impressed by the rising of venues that – in addition to those already existing – will be used during the Games.

"One of these new venues, the Emirates Arena, opened just a few weeks ago and is already a huge success. Other recent landmarks towards the Games have been delivered to great acclaim, illustrating that we are ready for 2014."

SPORT Minister Shona Robison described the past six months as "fantastic".

She said: "From the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, to the opening of two new key venues and meeting our new mascot Clyde, we have seen great success.

"Building on these successes, the Scottish Government is committed to developing a legacy for the whole of Scotland, including a new £10m fund to create or improve places in local communities where people get active. However, we must continue to work just as hard as we race towards 2014."

Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman Michael Cavanagh said: "Commonwealth Games Scotland and its partners are well on track with their planning for Team Scotland's participation in the Games.

"The success of Glasgow 2014 will largely be measured by the performance of our athletes and we are aiming to deliver Scotland's best ever Games performance in front of a home crowd in Glasgow."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

VELODROME C ONTEST KICK STARTS A LEGACY

CYCLISTS took to the track for the first competitive event at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

The new venue, which forms part of the £113million Commonwealth Arena, hosted the Scottish National Track Championships at the weekend.

Over three days of competition, riders fought for 14 championship titles including the men and women's junior sprint, the junior madison, the keirin and the 3k pursuit.

A highlight was the Thunder Drome, a two-hour exhibition event for charity showcasing Olympic events.

Track stars, including six-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Philip Hindes and Jason Queally, took to the track and Sir Chris was given a 'cycling guard of honour' which saw the other riders hold up their bikes to the side so he could ride through.

The event, in aid of the Braveheart Fund, which supports the development of young Scottish riders, was a sellout and thousands packed into the arena shouting and cheering.

Craig Burn, chief executive of Scottish Cycling, the national governing body for the sport in Scotland, said the velodrome is a superb legacy and will aid the development of the next generation of elite Scottish athletes.

"We hope we might even see the stars of the future begin their winning careers at the first championship event held here."

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