Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 20:31 UK

No Olympic pool for gold swimmer

Eleanor Simmonds (Pic:Getty images)
Eleanor Simmonds won gold in the 100m

A teenage gold medallist in the Paralympic Games had to train away from the West Midlands as the area does not have an Olympic-sized pool.

Eleanor Simmonds, 13, of Aldridge, Walsall, has been training in Swansea, Wales, nearly 160 miles away.

Her success at the games has renewed calls for an Olympic-sized pool to be built in the West Midlands. On Monday, she took gold in the 100m final.

Birmingham City Council has said it is committed to providing a 50m pool.

Eleanor's former coach Dave Marsh said: "We just haven't got the facilities in Birmingham.

"We need a 50m pool to train Olympic swimmers."

Eleanor, born with achondroplasia, or dwarfism, was a former member of a swimming club in Sutton Coldfield. The Wyndley Leisure Centre, where they trained, has been closed since November 2006 for repairs.

When it reopens, in December, it will not have a 50m pool.

Chairman Keith Mundy said councillors had been promising a 50m pool for the past 20 years.

Birmingham City Council said it was talking to a number of partners about providing a 50m pool.

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West Midlander Ellie Simmonds was forced to train in Wales

Simmonds makes history with gold
08 Sep 08 |  Paralympics


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