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Commonwealth Games

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will see 6,500 athletes compete for medals in 17 different sports. Tom Walker looks at the venues that are will provide the city with a lasting legacy of sport

by Tom Walker, Leisure Media | Published in Sports Management 2014 issue 2
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

Glasgow will host the XX Commonwealth Games in July, an event which not only promises to create memorable sporting moments but also provide a lasting legacy for the whole of Scotland.

In total, 16 facilities will host 17 different sports and the opening and closing ceremonies. Many of the facilities are existing ones that have been refurbished for the Games.

The redevelopments – such as those of Tollcross International Swimming Centre and Scotstoun Stadium – have been designed to provide world class venues and also benefit the public.

In addition, all three new venues built for the event have already been launched and have been in active use by the public, providing a "pre-Games legacy".

Venues within Glasgow have been organised within three clusters, with an additional three satellite sites being located outside the city.

Over the following pages, we take a detailed look at each venue.

Emirates Arena

New venue
Badminton

Designed by 3DReid, the £116m Emirates Arena is adjacent to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the two share a main entrance. Opened to the public in October 2012, the arena will provide a post-Games legacy for East Glasgow as a centre for sporting excellence and community sports – as well as acting as a catalyst to major investment and regeneration in the area. Managed by Glasgow Life, the new complex is built on a 10.3 hectare site, and boasts approximately 38,000 sq m of floorspace including the 10,000sq m Arena and a 2,500 sq m Sports Hall.

The Arena has a 200m running track, 60m hurdles track, throwing and jumping areas, and has also been designed to be used for a variety of other sports. For indoor athletics events it has the capacity to hold 5,000 spectators, while flexible seating platforms that push the seats as close as possible to the action can increase the capacity to nearly 7,000.

The Emirates Arena opened to the public in October 2012
The Emirates Arena opened to the public in October 2012

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome

New venue
Track cycling

Named in honour of the UK’s most successful Olympian, the £113m velodrome is one of three facilities built exclusively for the Games.

Adjoining the Emirates Arena, the venue is owned by Glasgow City Council and houses a 8,500sq m track. As part of the "pre-game legacy" plans, the track opened in October 2012 and has been in active use since. It hosted its first major international event, the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, in November 2012.

The venue's 250-metre track has been designed by Ralph Schuermann, one of the world’s foremost track designers. During the games, the velodrome will be able to house 4,500 spectators. In legacy mode its capacity will be 2,500. It is one of only five competition standard, indoor wooden tracks in the UK.

The velodrome boasts a wooden track designed by German specialist Ralph Schuermann
The velodrome boasts a wooden track designed by German specialist Ralph Schuermann

Ibrox Stadium

Existing venue
Rugby sevens

The 50,000-capacity brox Stadium, home of Rangers Football Club, will host the Rugby Sevens competition.

Built in 1899, the stadium will host a total of 45 games during the Games, with 16 teams going for gold.

As Rugby Sevens is set to make its Olympic Games debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the Glasgow Games will take on a new focus as the best teams in the Commonwealth are aiming to get an early foothold in the sport for the next decade of competition.

Ibrox will stage the Rugby Sevens
Ibrox will stage the Rugby Sevens

Tollcross International Swimming Centre

Redeveloped venue
Swimming

Owned by Glasgow City Council, the pool first opened in 1997 and underwent a one-year, £14m refurbishment and extension for the Games between October 2011 and October 2012. The existing 50m, 10-lane pool has been joined by a new 50m, six-lane warm-up and training pool and 2,000 permanent spectator seats. During the Games the capacity will be increased to 5,000 using temporary stands. Other improvements include a new pool-side event control room, new fitness and health suites, an extension of existing changing facilities, a refurbished café and a general upgrade of existing facilities.

The developments at Tollcross will provide a permanent training and recreational facility for the local community and elite athletes, as well as host international competitions – such as the IPC Swimming World Champs in 2015.

Tollcross has undergone a £14m redevelopment to modernise all aspects of the venue
Tollcross has undergone a £14m redevelopment to modernise all aspects of the venue

Glasgow Green National Hockey Centre

New venue
Hockey, Marathon, Road Cycling

Built especially for the Games, the hockey centre was designed by architect Willie Graham and is located within the Glasgow Green public park adjacent to Glasgow Green Football Centre. The venue is owned by Glasgow City Council and in legacy mode will act as the new headquarters for Scottish Hockey and will be used by Glasgow schools for training and competition.

Facilities include two FIH (Federation International de Hockey) standard water-based floodlit synthetic hockey pitches, with changing accommodation and warm-up facilities. During the Games the centre will have a capacity of 5,000, which will reduced to under 500 post-Games. It will also host the start and finish points of the marathon and the road cycling events.

Architect Willie Graham said: "We were provided two briefs: one for the Commonwealth Games event mode and the other for legacy mode.

"I had to 'marry up' requirements from these two documents when designing the venue. The interesting thing about this site is that it was the last piece of Glasgow Green that was not green, it was derelict land. It did not feel part of the park, and the best thing we could do was open up the edges of the new space, repeating visual connections of people in and around the venue.'

The centre will become the new HQ of Scottish hockey and will be used by schools for training
The centre will become the new HQ of Scottish hockey and will be used by schools for training

Hampden Stadium

Temporary Venue
Athletics, Closing Ceremony

Once the world's largest stadium, Hampden has undergone a massive transformation for Glasgow 2014. The playing surfaces have been raised by 1.9m to transform the stadium from a football venue into a temporary international-standard track and field facility. The first eight rows of seats have disappeared beneath an enormous steel structure which supports the running track and field sports areas. The cost of the works has been estimated at around £14m – considerably less than the cost of building a large-capacity athletics stadium meeting IAAF standards.

A warm-up track and jump areas have been created next to the stadium at Lesser Hampden, with secure, direct access into the main stadium.

To create the extra playing surface, the first nine rows of seating have been removed – decreasing the capacity of the stadium from its normal 52,025 to 46,000 for the Games. Further improvements will be carried out at both Hampden and Lesser Hampden, leaving a sporting legacy after the Games.

Hampden will have a capacity of 46,000
Hampden will have a capacity of 46,000

The Hydro

New Facility
Gymnastics, Netball

Opened in late 2013 , The SSE Hydro was designed by architect Sir Norman Foster. He was given a brief to ensure that the amphitheatre-style arena is perfect for the sports programme. With a capacity of 13,000, the venue operator – AEG Live – has set a target of attracting one million visitors each year in legacy mode. The Hydro will be capable of hosting major sports events as well as large-scale music concerts and entertainment.

The Hydro opened to the public in 2013
The Hydro opened to the public in 2013

Cathkin Braes

New venue
Mountain biking

The mountain biking centre is located in a refurbished former church, St Martin's, in the Castlemilk district of Glasgow. Historic Scotland part-funded the £2.7m work carried out on the venue, which houses changing rooms, a cafe, a climbing wall and community facilities including a performance area. Designed by Elder and Connor Architects and located within the Cathkin Braes Country Park, the centre's 5.5km cycle track has been created by renowned track builder Phil Saxena in partnership with Glasgow 2014. The track has been designed in a figure of eight and the circuits have been graded to suit different skill and fitness levels.

Following the Games, the park will open to the public and it is expected that the Games will create a lot of interest in the discipline of mountain biking.

Cathkin Braes is set to become the new home of mountain biking in Scotland
Cathkin Braes is set to become the new home of mountain biking in Scotland

Celtic Park

Existing venue
Opening ceremony

The home of Celtic Football Club, the 60,355-capacity stadium first opened in 1892. It is located a stone's throw from both the Emirates Arena as well as the Athletes' Village and will kick off proceedings on 23 July when 4,500 athletes from the Commonwealth's 71 nations and territories will take part in the opening ceremony.

The turf will be relaid after the Games
The turf will be relaid after the Games

Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC)

Existing venue
Boxing, Judo, Netball, Wrestling

Opened in 1985, the SECC is located on the banks of the River Clyde and is one of Scotland’s most visited venues. The SECC Precinct will form the largest venue precinct of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The area, which already boasts the large-scale SECC Exhibition Halls and the famous Clyde Auditorium (known as ‘Armadillo’ due to its overlapping, shell-like structure), will see the addition of The SSE Hydro. During the Games, SECC will be divided into three halls – one for netball, one for boxing and one for judo and wrestling.

The iconic SECC quarter will host a number of indoor sports events during the Games
The iconic SECC quarter will host a number of indoor sports events during the Games

Scotstoun Stadium

Redeveloped venue
Squash, Table tennis

The multi-faceted Scotstoun Sports Campus will form one of the precincts of the Games, hosting both the squash and table tennis competitions. Owned by Glasgow City Council and recently refurbished, the 12,500-capacity venue is already a popular sporting and community resource which includes the National Badminton Academy, indoor tennis centre and other fitness facilities. During Games-time Scotstoun will make good use of its six new permanent squash courts for singles matches, with the capability of conversion to four doubles courts. It will also feature a glass-walled show court,ensuring spectators get a great view of the action.

The Table Tennis competition will be played across two show courts and eight match courts. Post-Games, Scotstoun’s upgraded facilities will host international championships as well as be used by elite and aspiring athletes for training.

The venue has undergone a revamp and will have a capacity of 12,500 during the Games
The venue has undergone a revamp and will have a capacity of 12,500 during the Games

Royal Commonwealth POOL – Edinburgh

Redeveloped venue
Diving

First opened in 1970, the pool was closed for a major £39m refurbishment (designed by S&P Architects) between August 2009 and March 2012. The work included the redevelopment of the 25m diving and teaching pool as well as improvements to the changing rooms, café, reception, and the fitness club.

This year's Games will mark the third time the pool will be a venue for the Commonwealth Games – it did so in 1970 and 1986. The original Royal Commonwealth Pool was designed by RMJM Architects in 1967 and was officially listed by Historic Scotland in March 1996 and is a category A listed building.

The pool was closed for nearly three years to allow comprehensive improvement works
The pool was closed for nearly three years to allow comprehensive improvement works

Barry Buddon Shooting Centre – CARNOUSTIE

Temporary venue
Shooting

An infantry training area for the Ministry of Defence, Barry Buddon is spread across 2,600 acres (950 hectares) and boasts 21 ranges capable of supporting small arms, heavy machine gun and medium mortars.

For Glasgow 2014 upgrades will be made on the existing full bore range and three temporary Clay Target ranges will be installed. There will also be temporary enclosed ranges for Small Bore rifle and pistol. During the Games, the spectator capacity will be 3,500.

The venue boasts 21 shooting ranges
The venue boasts 21 shooting ranges

Clyde Auditorium

Existing venue
Weighlifting

Known affectionately as "The Armadillo" among locals, the 1,100-seat venue was designed by Foster and Partners and completed in 1997. During the Games, Clyde Auditorium will have a total capacity of 3,000.

The auditorium will be transformed into a weightlifting venue for the Games
The auditorium will be transformed into a weightlifting venue for the Games

Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre

Existing venue
Lawn bowls

The 2,500-capacity Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre has one of the almost dramatic settings of all the Games venues, situated next to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Glasgow University.
Owned by Glasgow City Council, Kelvingrove has a long tradition of bowls and over a period of two years – from 2010 to 2011 – the facility was upgraded to international standard with the reconstruction of five bowling greens. In total, there are now six greens that will be open and free to use by the public in legacy mode.

The Kelvingrove Gallery will provide the bowls venue with a spectacular backdrop
The Kelvingrove Gallery will provide the bowls venue with a spectacular backdrop

Strathclyde Country PARK – Motherwell

Temporary venue
Triathlon

Owned by North Lanarkshire Council, the park is already a popular destination for recreation and a range of sporting events, including rowing, sailing and cycling. For the Glasgow 2014 triathlon competition, Strathclyde Loch will be used for swimming, with the cycling and running stages taking place along the surrounding network of roads and pathways. The course is being upgraded for the Games, leaving a legacy for future events.

The park is a popular recreation area
The park is a popular recreation area

Legacy Plans

The foundations for the legacy were laid back in 2009, when the Scottish Government and a wide range of partners developed a nationwide plan, entitled A Games Legacy for Scotland. It outlines the collective ambitions for achieving a lasting legacy and covers a ten-year period to 2019 set around four themes: Flourishing, Active, Connected and Sustainable.

Embedded within each theme are the five underpinning principles; enabling diversity, ensuring equality, enhancing partnerships, encouraging community engagement and embedding sustainability.

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