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Olympian Sharp hits out after being kept off track

A SCOTTISH Olympian was banned from training at one of the country's biggest stadiums – in case she slipped while crossing a running track.

Runner Lynsey Sharp asked to run on the grass in the centre of Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh, but was refused on health and safety grounds.

A council official told the elite athlete she was not allowed to walk across the 10-metre wide running track to reach the middle in case she slipped on ice.

And officials also claimed the grass could not be used for running because football had been played on it.

Sharp, 22, said: "Every other track in Scotland will be open despite the cold weather but I can't use one 10 minutes from my house.

"It's a constant battle, it just seems like there's always something."

The athlete, who won a silver medal at the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki and reached the semi-finals of the 800m at London 2012, said she regularly has to fight for a training slot at Meadowbank. She added: "One Sunday a month you can't get on the track because of an antiques fair – they also have other fairs that mean you can't use it, or it's closed for football or for the fireworks.

"It's the only track of its kind in Edinburgh and this is what we have to contend with? It seems like they are more interested in making money with these outdoor events than they are in supporting athletes."

Edinburgh City Council claim the track was "rendered unusable" by the cold, despite being gritted.

A £25 million plan to rebuild a stadium elsewhere recently fell through after a dispute about the value of the land. Edinburgh Council has since spent £1.4m on repair work until a permanent solution can be found.

The council's culture and leisure vice-convenor Austin Hart said he understood Sharp's frustration.

He said: "We're really sympathetic to her very specialised training needs, and I think Meadowbank also has a hard job in trying to balance all the different demands on it."

A spokesman for Edinburgh Leisure said: "The grass in the middle of the track has been used as a football pitch and this made it an unsafe surface for running."

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