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Boost for Scotland as first watersports centre is completed

Work on the country's first purpose-built urban watersports centre has finished on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal in Glasgow.

CITY SLICKER: The facility is set to attract pros and novices. Pictures: Mark Gibson
CITY SLICKER: The facility is set to attract pros and novices. Pictures: Mark Gibson

The sound of a klaxon signalled the first competitive canoe slalom on the artificial white water course at the new £3.25million Pinkston Paddlesports Centre, between Port Dundas and Maryhill.

The horn was sounded by Shona Robison, Scotland's Secretary for Sport and the Commonwealth Games, who was there to witness the new home of Scottish watersports being handed over to Scottish Canals and charity chiefs at Glasgow Watersports.

Ms Robison said: "It's exciting to imagine the next generation of Scottish athletes being able to train at home for the first time but, I am sure, this excellent centre will attract people from far and wide."

Pinkston was designed by Andy Laird, who helped create the white water and canoe slalom courses at the 2012 London Olympics, at which Scots canoeists Tim Baillie and David Florence won gold and silver respectively.

Both have spent most of their careers training in England because of a lack of facilities in Scotland.

Pinkston features customisable white water and slalom courses - designed by Mr Laird - a clean water basin and canoe polo pitches.

It is set to revolutionise watersports in Scotland, as the country's only competition-standard paddlesports venue.

Martin Davidson, a trustee of Glasgow Watersports, said: "Catering equally for elite athletes and those grabbing a paddle for the first time, the centre will encourage more people to get out on the water and offer a programme of outreach activities, volunteering opportunities and training."

The centre is expected to attract 25,000 visitors every year from 2016.

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