Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

New 20m BMX arena plans agreed

Sportcity site
The BMX arena will be built in a car park at the Sportcity site

Plans to build a 20m BMX cycling arena in Manchester, which would also serve as a training base for 2012 British Olympic athletes, have been agreed.

The facility, with seats for up to 4,500 people around a 100m by 70m track, would be built in a car park at the existing Velodrome at Sportcity.

The government promised to build the centre after pulling plans to build the UK's first "supercasino" at the site.

The two buildings will be linked with a single reception, restaurant and shops.

'World class'

Manchester City Council and regeneration company New East Manchester have invited companies to bid for a contract worth 20.75m to build the new BMX centre.

The arena will have space for 2,000 permanent and 2,500 temporary seats and has been earmarked to host national and international BMX competitions.

BMX rider - generic image
The arena will host national and international BMX competitions

BMX - bicycle motorcross - racing is one of the world's fastest-growing extreme sports. It made its Olympic debut in Beijing last year, when gold medal favourite and world champion Shanaze Reade, from Cheshire, crashed out of the women's final.

The last BMX world championships, also held in China, attracted 300 competitors from more than 30 countries.

Eddie Smith, chief executive of New East Manchester, said: "We are clear in our aspiration to deliver a world class indoor BMX centre that will offer a home for the British BMX team for the 2012 Olympics and beyond.

"Athletes who benefited from Sportcity facilities won over 60 medals at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games last year.

"We are confident that with the right facilities we can help even more talented athletes achieve their dream."

In total, the council is looking to spend 300m of private and public money to transform the Sportcity site.

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