One of the best sports centres in the city was officially opened today by double Paralympian, Lauren Steadman. ESP’s Mikey Clarke went along to check out the venue and grabbed a few words with the sporting star…
The multi-million pound redevelopment, funded by Peterborough City Council, was completed earlier this month. It provides local residents with a broad range of engaging activities, including a brand new 25 metre pool which offers swimming lessons, public swimming, fitness classes, club training, pool parties (with a large inflatable) and access for local schools. There are also two multi-activity sports halls suitable for 5-a-side football, badminton, netball and basketball, an activity studio suitable for dance, gymnastics, martial arts and performances, a spinning studio, and much more!
Double Paralympian swimmer, Lauren Steadman (who’s originally from Peterborough), officially opened the new Stanground Sports Centre, and I was lucky enough to grab a few words with her. I asked why she had offered her support to the venue. “I live in Sawtry so I’m just down the road. I’m always happy to support local causes if I can,” she said. “I’m also passionate about promoting the importance of sport, especially to children as they are the next generation of athletes. I’m impressed by the facilities and will definitely be using them whenever I’m in the area.”
Lauren was born missing her lower right arm, however this has challenged her to be the best she can be, and she relishes the chance to overcome barriers. On her disability, Lauren explained, “When I was born, my parents were worried that I wouldn’t be able to ever ride a bike or make friends. I’ve done everything they feared I wouldn’t do, and much more – I always found a way. I may look silly in the way I do certain things, but the point is that I do them.”
Since the London Olympics, Lauren has switched from swimming to taking part in triathlon. “I first got into triathlon after my uncle, who is a triathlete, suggested I try it. I think it’s great pushing my body to the limits in not one but three sports.”
The triathlete plans to take part in the 2016 Rio Olympics. On top of training for that, she’s at university, and likes to spend time with friends and family. I wanted to know how she fits it all in and was exhausted just by hearing, “I have to start very early in the morning. I’m usually swimming by 4.20am. After that I’ll do a couple of lectures, a bike ride, a couple more lectures, and then a run in the evening. I’ll speak to friends and family between those things – they’re all very supportive.”
Finally, for any youngsters reading this who want to be a professional athlete, Lauren explained – “You have to love the sport you’re doing. You have to love it because you’ll be doing it a lot and will have to give it your all if you want to be a professional. You also have to take as many opportunities as you can – particularly whilst you’re young.”
During my time at the venue, I also caught up with Emma Walker, the Stanground Sports Centre Manager, who said: “The new centre is a really exciting development for Stanground and the wider city. I would like to thank all our customers for their patience and understanding while the new centre has been under construction. I am sure that they will be delighted with the new facility and enjoy the wide range of services we have on offer.”
Chelsea Hutchins, a pupil at the Stanground Academy, added – “It is really nice, much better than the old pool.W we are much more likely to come swimming here with our friends now.” Paolo Poli, also a pupil at the Academy, said – “The new gym is brilliant, I really enjoyed my lesson in there today. I can’t wait to play football on the new pitches!”
Check out the Stanground Sports Centre for yourself, located on Peterborough Road, Stanground, PE7 3BY.
Photos: Chris Brudenell for ESP Magazine