MEADOWBANK Stadium in Edinburgh will close in December before being redeveloped as a multi-sports arena with an outdoor athletics track, smaller 500-seater stand and indoor sprints straight and jumps runway.
The stadium has staged some of the most memorable moments in the history of British athletics, as well as providing a training venue for some of the sport’s current stars.
The 1970 Commonwealth Games at Meadowbank, for example, saw stirring Scottish distance running victories from Ian Stewart in the 5000m and Lachie Stewart in the 10,000m, while the track was also graced by athletes like Don Quarrie of Jamaica and Raelene Boyle of Australia.
Then, 16 years later, the Games returned to Meadowbank and featured 800/1500m doubles by Steve Cram and Kirsty Wade, plus a 10,000m victory from Liz McColgan.
“I remember being 12, and going to the East District Championships,” McColgan told The Herald, “and being in awe at the size of the stadium. Little did I know how important this place would become to me. Scotland’s only gold in 1986 was a massive win for me ... memories never to be replaced. I’m upset it’s come to this. Our national stadium should have been kept.”
More recently, when Chris O’Hare won the British 1500m title this summer from Josh
Kerr and Jake Wightman he said: “It’s good to know we’re getting it done together with all three guys who grew up training at Meadowbank. If that’s not an advert for keeping Meadowbank Stadium and maybe renovating it a little bit, I don’t know what is.”
At least the venue is set to be redeveloped and retain an athletics track, though, at an estimated cost of £41.1 million and a planned opening date of spring 2020. For a while it was threatened with being bulldozed and replaced with housing, but various complaints and campaigns have secured its survival as a sports facility.
New-look: an artist’s impression of the revamped facility in Edinburgh
Meadowbank Stadium: has witnessed some memorable performances