Paddling stars make a big splash at canal canoe centre

GLASGOW is hoping to make waves by producing future generations of water babies to take on the world's best canoeists.

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  • The new home of Scottish watersports, the £3.25m Pinkston Watersports Centre, offers world class white-water and slalom courses, a training basin and a canoe polo area

Work on the country's first purpose-built urban watersports centre has finished on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal, between Port Dundas and Maryhill.

And the sound of a klaxon signalled the first ever competitive canoe slalom on the artificial white-water course at the new £3.25million Pinkston Paddlesports Centre.

The horn was sounded by Shona Robison, Scotland's Secretary for Sport and the Commonwealth Games, who was at the Pinkston basin to witness the new home of Scottish watersports being officially handed over to Scottish Canals and charity chiefs at Glasgow Watersports.

Ms Robison said: "Pinkston watersports is a world class facility that will benefit athletes, paddle sport enthusiasts and the local community.

"The centre can be the spur for a revolution in Scottish water sports.

"It's exciting to imagine the next generation of Scottish athletes being able to train at home for the first time but, I am sure, this excellent centre will attract people from far and wide."

Pinkston was designed by Andy Laird, who helped create the white-water and canoe slalom courses used in the 2012 London Olympics, at which Scots canoeists Tim Baillie and David Florence won gold and silver respectively.

Both have spent most of their careers training in England because of a lack of facilities in Scotland.

Enthusiasts predict that Pinkston will become home to the nation's paddlers and help attract future stars.

It features customisable white-water and slalom courses - designed by Mr Laird - a clean water basin and canoe polo pitches.

Pinkston is set to revolutionise watersports in Scotland, with predictions that the country's first and only competition-standard paddlesports venue will provide a home for the nation's paddlers of today and tomorrow.

Martin Davidson, a trustee of Glasgow Watersports, said: "Catering equally for elite athletes and those grabbing a paddle for the first time, the centre will encourage more people to get out on the water and offer a programme of outreach activities, volunteering opportunities and training in order to benefit as many young Scots as possible."

The centre is expected to attract 25,000 visitors every year from 2016.

It is hoped it will be the first step in developing a 'corridor of sport' along the Glasgow branch of the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Future ideas include ' Urban Etive', an artificial white-water course at Maryhill Locks, canoe trails and a North Glasgow Circular Path.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Sport

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