Huge grants to build on Olympic success

WINNING Andy Murray took Olympic gold in the men's tennis last year
WINNING Andy Murray took Olympic gold in the men's tennis last year

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OLYMPIC tennis stars of the future could be nurtured at a new community tennis court.

Sport England has announced almost £200,000 has been invested in sporting facilities in the area, including a £28,000 tennis court in Hambledon, Waterlooville.

Park Community School, in Leigh Park, and Havant Rifle Club are also big winners with funding for a £100,000 floodlit all-weather pitch at the school and an upgraded rifle range.

The grants, from Sport England, are through Inspired Facilities, which is part of the £150m Places People Play Olympic legacy programme.

In Hambledon a new tennis court on land off High Street will complement the world-famous cricket ground.

Mik Norman, chairman of the parish council, said: ‘We are thrilled to have received this generous grant which will provide a free tennis facility for all and enable us to use other funds to provide coaching too.

‘The court will be targeted at those without the means to build their own court or join a tennis club – i.e. a typical villager.

‘And if we don’t provide sporting facilities for everyone, especially those on average or lower incomes, how can we hope to achieve excellence on the sports field?

‘A huge thank you to Sport England.’

And Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery said: ‘As many know, Hambledon and sport have a long and illustrious history together and so I wouldn’t bet against a future elite tennis player or two cutting their teeth here.’

Alan Perry, chairman of Havant Rifle Club, said they were delighted to be able to build a new air rifle range.

‘It’s quite a relief actually because we are one of the biggest clubs in the country and membership is growing at a rate of knots.

‘Air rifle shooting is probably the most popular and fastest growing.

‘We have record holders here, including Adrian Syms who is the leading air rifle shooter in the country.

‘It is the cornerstone of our strategy to develop an outstanding club from the 2012 Olympics’ legacy.

‘This is great news for us.’