Athletics must be a priority

There is no cause I would like to support with more passion than that eloquently argued by Tony Elder in the County Times under the heading ‘Think again over sport facilities’.

Because we are so right to value the quality of life we enjoy in Horsham it cannot be correct - even in this recession - to lessen the standard of athletics facilities on offer to our up and coming Olympic hopefuls.

I shall refrain from writing at length because I believe that brevity is an ally in emphasising the outstanding merits of the crusade to keep alive the widespread sporting and community enthusiasm of this summer.

I am from the Midlands (like the late Godfrey Brown, a 1936 Olympic athletics Gold Medallist honoured by a plaque and a tree at Broadbridge Heath) and have retired from working full time for 20 years furthering the cause of British athletics.

For many years a disused hangar at RAF Cosford was the jewel in our crown when indoor athletics was on the agenda.

In Britain just as a swimmer needs an indoor swimming pool so too does an athlete need indoor training facilities.

‘The Tube’ at Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre was never ideal but it is/was a lot better than nothing.

We made do with Cosford - a converted RAF facility- because it was not long after the war and that was all we could manage. Our forefathers in that war fought and died in their thousands for a better Britain.

We have enjoyed over 65 years of comparative peace and prosperity thanks to our service men and women’s sacrifices and the stoicism of the civilians - are we really going to say that we cannot afford even the most basic indoor athletics training facilities here in Horsham?

It is necessary that those in power see the bigger picture. No one denies that difficult decisions have to be taken, but if we live in an environment where the agenda includes discussion about new airport facilities because of continuing trends of forecasted expanding demand we must not forget that we inherit great traditions of success in track and field athletics and that athletes of today have a high claim for economic support, even priority after the magnificent achievements of British Olympic and Paralympic athletes this summer.

Yours sincerely,

John Bromhead

Kings Road,

Horsham RH13 5AE