Double world champion joins fight to save Scots stadium

The gold-medal winner said he owes much of his development to the training facility.

Double World champion Josh Kerr has joined the fight to save Grangemouth stadium from potential closure.

The Scot, who won gold in the Men’s 1500m at the World Championships in Budapest last summer, believes he wouldn’t have had the success in his career without the facility near Falkirk.

The middle-distance runner has joined fellow Scottish athletes such as Laura Muir, Eilish McColgan, Jemma Reekie and Jake Wightman in backing calls to save the facility from closure by Falkirk Council.

Scottish Athletics said it has commissioned independent consultants to assess the costs of saving Grangemouth.

Proposed mitigation includes a partnership agreement between the council and Scottish Athletics as per an Equality and Poverty Impact Assessment conducted in January.

The training facility is one of more than 100 facilities owned by the council set to be closed or to transferred into the hands of local communities.

Kerr told Scottish Athletics: “It is really sad to hear about the threat to the future of Grangemouth.

“When I look back on the early stages of my career then I know I would not have had the development I did without Grangemouth as a venue for events.

Grangemouth stadium is among 100 facilities under consultation for closure or transfer to local communities. Photo: Scottish Athletics.Scottish Athletics

“Any facility closing in Scotland – or potentially closing in Scotland – is a massive problem and issue for our sport.”

The 26-year-old from Edinburgh added: “We are trying our hardest at our (elite) end of things to inspire and motivate and show people the pathway.

“A big motivation for us is trying to get people down to their local track.

“To close those kind of venues down is not a spot we want to be in at the moment.

“So I’m sad to hear that and anything we can do to raise the profile of the discussion is important.

“I think it is massive for athletics in Scotland so let’s see if we can raise the argument and the money need to keep Grangemouth open both for clubs and athletes to train and also for a whole range of championship, age group and league or local events.”

Colin Hutchison, chief executive of Scottish Athletics, said in December: “Myself and the board remain extremely concerned about the future of Grangemouth, which has had and continues to have, such an integral role to play in athletics in Scotland.

“It’s a key venue for local clubs, for training, for competition, for National Championships and as a venue for education of officials and coaches.

“We’ve had to take the lead on assessing viable options to keep the stadium open and athletics happening at Grangemouth.

Josh Kerr says the training facility is 'massive' for athletics in Scotland. Photo: Getty Images.Getty Images

“The consultants will help with that by talking to all the stake-holders involved including the local clubs.

“They will look at, firstly, the operations of the venue and possible cost-savings in that area.

“Secondly, they will look at possible ways to generate new income. Thirdly, they will look at potential future models for a viable facility.

“We need that information to assess the viability of Grangemouth Stadium remaining open as an athletics venue protecting the future of the local clubs (Falkirk Victoria Harriers and Forth Valley Flyers) and supporting local, regional and national competition and training.

“As things stand, we have scheduled our 2024 outdoor 4J Age Group Champs and our 4J Senior/U17 Champs – our two main summer weekends in track and field – for Grangemouth next August and are very much looking forward to those.

“However, there remains a real threat that the venue could close in 2025 unless a suitable rescue package can be agreed.”

A petition to halt the closure of the stadium has reached over 3,000 signatures with a target of 5,000.

Falkirk Council have been contacted for comment.

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