Bisham Abbey hopes to attract aspiring athletes

James Harrison

As the country continues to bask in the warm glow of Olympic success, a major sports centre used as a base by several of the medal winning teams is hoping to attract aspiring athletes.

 Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre’s gym has recently reopened following a major facelift.

About £160,000 has been lavished on the facility, with dozens of new machines installed.

Among the new equipment is a host of conventional treadmills, cross trainers and bikes, as well as power mills and a Boditrax machine, which can measure everything from body mass to body fat content and the weight of a trainer’s skeleton.

The centre is used extensively by the GB women’s hockey team, which scooped gold in a thrilling final against the Netherlands in Rio, and the women’s rugby sevens side, which just missed out on gold.

However, organisers are concerned that members of the public are being put off the chance to use its world class facilities, which have also been used by the likes of Barcelona FC and Valencia FC, because they think it is reserved solely for the use of elite sportspeople.

Tracey Middle, marketing manager at the centre, said: “I think the key thing for the re-furb is that there’s a bit of a stigma about the name Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre which can put people off.

“I think having the tag ‘National Sports Centre’ alludes to people not being allowed access to the site. But it is public access and it’s probably one of the largest facilities available for people around.

“There’s a lot of opportunities and I really feel it’s a hidden gem.”

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