Christine Ohurougu launches legacy athletics facility in Hackney
World champion 400m runner Christine Ohuruogu has launched the world’s first ever Compact Athletics Facility in Hackney with the help of children from Stoke Newington School.
The Olympics legacy facility, which includes a sprint straight, a long jump straight and pit, a high jump area, a running trail around the school and a heavy throws wall, is the first ever athletics facility in Hackney.
Newham and Essex Beagle Ohuruogu was joined at the launch by an eager class of sports students from Stoke Newington School as well as Hackney Council’s Lead Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, Jonathan McShane.
The initiative was funded by England Athletics (EA), Sport England and the London Marathon Trust and will provide facilities for local schoolchildren and around 400 people from the local community each week, including the much-loved Hackney Hurricaines Athletics Club.
Ohuruogu, who grew up just miles from the new facility, spoke of how she hoped to see future stars of British athletics uncovered on the Stoke Newington track, where she started the first children’s race earlier today. She said: “Visiting schools like this and inspiring the next generation is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here to open a brand new type of athletics facility, giving thousands of local kids a chance to take part in the sport that has done so much for me.
“It’s great to see our sport’s governing bodies really taking the legacy of London 2012 seriously and getting creative with ways to get athletics into the inner-city. The Compact Facility is a really good solution in a busy area with a lot of young stars waiting to be uncovered.”
With the help of local community partners and Hackney Hurricanes the facility will continue to drive up participation in athletics across the borough and play a significant role in getting more Londoners to be more active more often.
I’m delighted that athletes of all ages and abilities now have a place to hone their skills in Hackney. This new facility means the London Olympics will leave a living legacy here in the form of a new generation of talented young athletes.
The Stoke Newington School, in hosting the facility on its premises, will have access for its students to run, jump and throw throughout the day, all year round. Headteacher Annie Gammon revealed that she jumped at the opportunity when it was first suggested by Hackney council. She said: “We are excited to have this facility in our school. I believe that athletics is a great participation sport for everyone and, of course, for some, the facility enables them to develop towards elite performance."