Cycling Calls for National Indoor Track

Caroline Ryan CyclingMomentum is growing behind a plan to construct an indoor velodrome on the National Sports Campus at Abbotstown.

Officials from Cycling Ireland and Badminton Ireland are hoping to meet Department of Sport officials in the coming weeks to discuss the results of a feasibility study on the building of a joint facility, to go alongside the national indoor arena sanctioned for progress under capital spending plans approved in the last budget.

The project was given impetus again on Saturday when Caroline Ryan secured a bronze medal at the World Track Cycling Championships in Mexico.

This brings to 15 the number of indoor medals won by Irish cyclists and paracyclists in the past two years at European and World level, despite there being no facility to encourage young talent to get involved and to use as a training facility for those reaching such a high level.

“A velodrome is the missing link in the chain at the moment,” said Cycling Ireland President Denis Toomey speaking after Ryan’s medal winning performance. “We’ll produce more Martyn Irvines and more Caroline Ryans and more Eoin Mullens with a track. Imagine the amount of people that’d come up behind them? It’s essential we get it.”

“A velodrome ticks so many boxes; from getting school kids in, to helping our own development squads, to the elite squad and for teams coming in from outside the country. It would be self-financing, it would drive up membership, from our current level of 20,000.”

A joint project with Badminton Ireland would enable the hosting of major events like the Carlton Irish Open which took place over the weekend and at which Minister Leo Varadkar was in attendance. Irish interest was maintained up to the semi final stage when Irish number one Chloe Magee lost to eventual winner Beiwan Zhang of the US. In the Men’s tournament Scott Evans lost a close quarter final encounter with Germany’s Lukas Schmidt.

Badminton has 17,000 registered members and is also committed to the shared facility with cycling.

We understand the costs around the construction of the facility could be less than €10 million, with savings to be made by having shared facilities with the national indoor arena. These could be added to if construction could be completed at the same time. In real terms then, the cost could be as realistic as €250 per head of the combined membership of the two sporting organisations.

Both have the scope to grow considerably with the impetus that a facility like this would bring and the idea is far more concrete than some might believe to be the case.

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