Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 13.54.45THE brand new Middlesbrough Sports Village has hit the ground running – and is putting the town firmly on the sporting map.

The state-of-the-art £21 million complex is already proving a massive hit with grass roots sports enthusiasts and elite sportsmen and women just weeks after throwing open its doors.

The venue – set to become a regional hub for athletics and a range of other sports – was officially launched in May.

The Sports Village features an eye-catching 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 also features a Children’s Fun Village and WattCycle Studio, while the wider site is home to the Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit, Plaza Skate Park and eleven-a-side, seven-a-side and five-a-side 3G pitches.

Work on a 250m outdoor cycle velodrome – developed in partnership with British Cycling – is also nearing completion, adding a further dimension to Middlesbrough’s ever-growing cycling offer.

The Sports Village is central to Active Middlesbrough’s aim to engage with the local community and athletes in a wide range of sporting activities, as well as developing the national and international athletes of the future.

Partnerships have already been established with a wide range of local sports clubs and organisations including Middlesbrough Roller Hockey, Tees Valley Mohawks, Middlesbrough Futsal, Middlesbrough Athletics Club, WattCycle, Destination Judo and Middlesbrough Powerchair FC.

Since opening, the Sports Village has hosted more than 30 events for schools, colleges and clubs including the MS Society 24 Hour Duathlon Charity Event and the Tees Valley School Sports Finals.

In the future the Sports Village is set to become a centre of excellence for female sport through partnerships with local clubs, Sport England and sports governing bodies.

The new facility has created a stir on social media, with more than 650 Twitter and a surge in ‘likes’ on the Active Middlesbrough Facebook page, while comments and posts on a number of sites have been overwhelmingly positive.

And that interest is translating into a surge in physical activity, with more than 15,000 casual visits, more than 2,000 people playing football, 8,000 gym visits, more than 2,000 casual track users and more than 3,000 children using the fun village.

More than 600 people have signed for Active Middlesbrough Membership at Middlesbrough Sports Village alone, with many taking advantage of the great savings available through Active Family & Friends Memberships.

Lovemiddlesbrough ambassador and Fly Me To The Moon fanzine editor Rob Nichols, has been one of the new venue’s champions and has devoted his latest lovemiddlesbrough blog to a visit by his niece and nephew from Hong Kong.

He said: “Every day we drove past the new sports village and fed off the buzz from the number of people out on the athletics track, being coached on the astro turf pitches or watching from the grandstand.

“We just had to ask for a closer look and were very kindly afforded a full tour – what a facility, we were not disappointed.

“The track is fantastic, having that eighth lane that Clairville was lacking to allow it to be used for more competitions.

“I really cannot tell you how excited I am about the sports village – I can hardly believe it was completed in such a short time and to such a high standard.

“It will be a phenomenal legacy that should inspire a new generation to put down their consoles, phones and tablets and take up a sport for leisure, fitness, camaraderie and pleasure.

“The kids told me that there is nothing like this in Hong Kong. How lucky are we?”

Middlesbrough Council Leisure Services Manager Paul Ayre said: “The Sports Village has been absolutely buzzing with activity and events since it opened, and it’s building on our long-term goal of making more people more active.

“It’s a first class venue for the whole community which will act as a focal point for local, regional and national level competition, inspiring the next generation of sporting heroes and perhaps even producing a future Olympic champion.”

For further information on Middlesbrough Sports Village, contact the venue on 01642 728555, visit the activemiddlesbrough Facebook page, Twitter at @MbroSportsVlg email enquiries.msv@middlesbrough.gov.uk or visit www.middlesbroughsportsvillage.co.uk