Portchester hero Declan Brooks, who won a bronze medal in the BMX Freestyle Park event in last year’s Tokyo games, returned to his old haunt in Southsea to help christen the new resi ramp.
The skate park has been working on gaining the new training ramp for the last decade, with a fundraising campaign helping to secure the needed £7,500 cost earlier this year.
The new feature – with foam padding to soften landings – will make a ‘massive difference’ in terms of attracting more young talent to the park, according to Declan.
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The 25-year-old said: ‘It gives kids the confidence to try new stuff so they can progress quicker and also they don’t have to travel to places like Adrenaline Alley (near Peterborough) which is like four hours from here. It allows a lot more people access to better facilities.
‘We’ve been wanting one of these for the last ten years, so its been a long time coming. This will just attract a lot more people to come down here as well. Hopefully the scene grows so this place can stay open.’
Buzz around the new equipment has already seen attendance shoot up by more than 20 per cent, according to site manger and former BMX world champion Effraim Catlow.
The sports mentor said: ‘We have also had people come out of the word work who have not been here for years. And one of the kids did a front flip for the first time – they wouldn’t be able to do that normally.’
Effraim thanked everyone who helped support the upgrade, including ‘brilliant’ support from Portsmouth City Council.
He added: ‘The skate park is constantly evolving. We’d like to have a roof, that would be a massive project, a few more resi ramps.’
The park, which is closed on Tuesdays, charges children £5.00 for a two hour session, while a three hour session costs £7.
Declan will be be competing in the X Games in Japan, beginning on April 22.