A retired top athletics coach has called on Sport England or a wealthy local person or business people to help save the facilities at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre.
Former British Amateur Athletics Board and UKA senior coach Tony Elder used to be a long-term user of the tube which looks set to be lost if a new £12.3million centre is built.
He says that the tube - an indoor provision that includes a 60m straight, indoor pole vault, long jump and high jump areas - quite simply ‘has’ to be retained.
Currently, despite a rise in usage figures, it looks as though with a new leisure centre set to be built next to the current site there will be no new incorporation for indoor athletics.
Of five different options, Horsham District Council appear to favour option three which has no plans for an indoor tube.
Having read our story last week on coaches and athletes raising concerns, Elder, who has coached Commonwealth medallists, been chairman of the Sussex Schools, county officer and organised the ESAA Cross Country Championship, has appealed for public support to fund the facility in a new centre.
The 81-year-old retired Crawley head teacher, who now lives in Horsham, said: “I coached athletes in the tube on countless occasions and I know how valuable it was and still is.
“I know that the council say that they can’t afford to retain the tube, but this implies that for them it has a lower priority than some other leisure features, which tells me that the council don’t appreciate how vital the tube is.
“We must keep up the pressure to have an indoor tube included as part of a rebuilt or refurbished leisure facility.
“Maybe Sport England, who would know of the tube’s importance, would help to finance the creation of a new tube. Maybe some wealthy local business people would help to finance it. Sponsor it perhaps: I don’t think anyone would mind if a new tube carried the name of a local wealthy benefactor.
“The bottom line is: the tube has to be retained. Athletes will seriously lose out if it goes.”
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