Rink is aimed at encouraging more people to try sport

SPORT The planned new ring will be used by roller hockey teams such as Fareham Wildcats. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (102540-338)
SPORT The planned new ring will be used by roller hockey teams such as Fareham Wildcats. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (102540-338)
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A RINK for roller hockey, inline skating and other sports will be open by July.

The specialist sports rink will cater for ‘wheel sports’ as well as futsal, handball and wheelchair sports and will be one of only five of its kind in the UK.

The centre received backing from Fareham Borough Council, which agreed to split the starting costs with Salmiakki Sports.

Salmiakki Sports is a not-for-profit community interest company.

It has raised £25,000 towards the project.

The council has contributed £21,5000.

Setti Mulari, from Salmiakki Sports, also plays with Fareham Wildcats roller hockey team, which will use the rink.

He said: ‘It’s going to give much more choice to people in the area who are looking to participate in sports.

‘It was in the interests of the council because residents had said that they were not happy with the amount of choice they had.

‘With that and the Olympics it was a good time to propose a centre for sports which they had never heard of.’

Setti hopes the rink will host sports such as box lacrosse, inline sledge hockey, walking futsal, handball, floorball, goalball and a range of wheelchair sports.

He said: ‘Basically the rink will be a great place for anybody on wheels so we are open-minded about what sports can be played there.’

Setti said that he was looking forward to watching one sport in particular, roller derby – a fast-paced contact sport played by two teams.

Setti said: ‘Everybody is really excited to see the roller derby. It’s a very popular sport.

‘I’ve never seen it live before and that’s something I can’t wait to see.’

The nearest regulation size rink, 20m by 40m, is at the Lord Roberts Centre at Bisley in Surrey.

The project will benefit many teams such as the Fareham Wildcats, Ferndown Falcons and the University of Portsmouth.

Fareham council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘Setti is quite an inspirational fellow. He came to see me with an idea six months ago and I was very impressed.

‘He told me that there isn’t anywhere else locally and that they were having to travel a long distance to play. It’s a very exciting project.’

Salmiakki Sports is finalising the details of where the rink will be.

It is intended to be within walking distance of Fareham town centre.