Sport stars help kids get on track as village opens doors.
RUNNING with Olympic stars - that's a memory these children will treasure.
Now the state-of-theart PS21m Middlesbrough Sports Village - which has been backed by sporting stars world champion sprinter Richard Kilty, Paralympian Jade Jones, distance runner Matty Hynes, track star Rabah Yousif and Teesside Mohawks' Romonn Nelson - is open it won't be the only time they're sure to spot them.
As well as being ambassadors for the new sporting facility in Middlesbrough, which officially opens on Monday, they are all keen to train there.
Richard Kilty, 25, from Stockton, said: "It's amazing, it's got everything we need for an international level. For the kids, it's phenomenal."
Matty Hynes, 27, from Linthorpe in Middlesbrough, said: "We will all be using it. It's two minutes away for me.
"People were kicking off when Clairville closed and I said if it closes they have to build something better and this is better than you could imagine."
Jade Jones, 19, from Middlesbrough, who will also train at the facility, said: "It's incredible. I wish I had something like this when I was growing up.
"The stands are accessible so it's really cool. I will be training here, in fact, I've just signed up for the gym."
Rabah Yousif, 28, from Thornaby, said it was great to be an ambassador for the facility as "it's actually nice to give something back to the community".
The sporting stars joined children from eight schools - Abingdon, Pallister Park, Easterside, Lingfield, Captain Cook, Marton Manor, Beech Grove and St Thomas More - for a Future Champions' Day to enjoy taster sessions of the sports available at the site.
They took part in a range of indoor and outdoor activities including athletics, futsal, netball and roller hockey.
Today and tomorrow, the venue - on Alan Peacock Way off Ladgate Lane - will host an open weekend with a number of free activities both at the Sports Village and other Active Middlesbrough venues.
Hilary Porter, teacher at Beech Grove Primary School, said: "The children had an amazing time.
"They have played basketball with Teesside Mohawks and had a game of tennis.
"They just finished their SATs yesterday so this is a nice treat for them.
"This (Sports Village) is what they need to encourage them to develop their skills."
Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: "An enormous amount of work has gone into the creation of a first-class venue for the whole community, and I'm grateful to everyone who has played a part in making the dream a reality.
"The Sports Village will play a vital role in helping more local people get involved in physical activity and lead healthier lifestyles, as well as being a focal point for local, regional and national level competition."
Cllr Lewis Young, executive member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "This is a fantastic, worldclass facility." The Sports Village has an athletics stadium with 400m track, an indoor 40m athletics track, fitness gym, indoor multi sports court incorporating a show court for basketball, netball, futsal and roller hockey with seating for 300 spectators.
The Hub building is also home to a Children's Fun Village and WattCycle Studio while the wider site includes a 1km cycle circuit, plaza skate park, and 11-a-side, seven-aside and five-a-side 3G pitches.
Work is under way on the Olympic-size velodrome which is expected to open in the autumn.
For more pictures and video go to www.gazettelive.co.uk
Left, ambassadors Jade Jones, Rabah Yousif, | Matty Hynes, and Richard Kilty at the opening of Middlesbrough Sports Village, below, where children enjoyed the new facilities 150515VILLAGE KATIE LUNN
The gym at the sports village, which is on the site of the former Clairville Stadium
Some of |the equipment at the sports and leisure facility in Middlesbrough, including a soft play area and gym as well as an athletics field and track
Kids |had a fantastic time at the Sports Village