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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 January, 2004, 17:12 GMT
Work begins on sports village
Swansea sports village

Work is underway on a new 5.5m sports village to replace athletics facilities at Swansea's former Morfa Stadium.

The bulldozers have moved on site to start preparations for the complex at Ashleigh Road next to the Welsh National Swimming Pool.

The National Lottery's Sportlot fund has awarded a grant of 3m towards the project, that will include an eight lane running track, two all weather pitches, indoor training facilities and spectator stands.

The city has been without top-class athletics facilities since Morfa Stadium was demolished to make way for the new White Rock football and rugby stadium and shopping and leisure park.

This tremendous sports village complex will help end the exodus of Welsh sporting potential to England
Robert Francis Davies

Swansea council has teamed up with the city's university and the Sports Council for Wales to develop the project.

Some of the money will also be to provide natural grass pitches and changing rooms at four secondary school sites.

The all-weather pitches, which cost 1.44m, have already been designated as the regional centre for hockey in south west Wales by the Welsh Hockey Union and will include floodlighting and watering systems.

It means Swansea will host international hockey tournaments, as well as number of local clubs.

The aim is to complete the pitches by July in time for the first major tournament when Welsh Hockey hosts the European Junior Women's Nations Trophy with teams from across Europe taking part.

The union's director of hockey, Chris Brewer, said, "The new pitches will benefit not only Swansea and the local area, but also Wales as a whole as there is currently only one other such pitch within the country.

He said it would provide a "world class" facility that would attract many more to the sport.

They will not just be used for hockey and other clubs and organisations will be able to make use of them.

Students at Swansea University will be guaranteed access for their clubs as part of the programme whilst local community football and rugby teams will also benefit.

Deputy leader of Swansea council, Robert Francis Davies, said the complex would be a boost for sport in Wales in general and athletics in particular.

He said: "This tremendous sports village complex will help end the exodus of Welsh sporting potential to England.

"Welsh students who wanted academic qualifications and pursue a potential career or interest in sports used to want to go to Bath or Loughborough."

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