Athletics Weekly - - News -

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

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