Park shines in Games sunshine

Alistair Brownlee laps up the applause after winning the men's triathlon.
Alistair Brownlee laps up the applause after winning the men's triathlon.

Strathclyde Park is being hailed a huge Commonwealth Games success after nearly 50,000 people flocked to the venue.

Spectators enjoyed two days of thrilling triathlon action as world class sportsmen and women swam, cycled and ran their way to medal glory.

Television viewers worldwide saw the park at its best, especially on Thursday as the crowds enjoyed wonderful summer weather that was the stuff of dreams for the organisers.

North Lanarkshire Council leader Jim McCabe, who presented the medals after the team relay on Saturday, said: “The event has really put Strathclyde Park on the map. We have a real jewel of a venue.

“The challenge now will be to make the most of the park.

“There has been nothing but praise for the efforts of council employees and our partners in staging the two days and it is clear we have a world class venue.

“We proved the council can stage a show that reaches 1.5 billion people and goes without a hitch.”

The individual triathlon races provided superb entertainment for the sun-soaked spectators.

Both the men and women had to complete a gruelling course comprising a 1,500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

The men’s event was won by England’s Alistair Brownlee, the Olympic champion, with his brother Jonny second. England’s Jodie Stimpson won the women’s race and the English medallists returned on Saturday to win gold in the mixed team relay.

Following the success of the triathlon, the question is ‘What now for the park?’

It has staged open water swimming and international triathlons in the past, but in recent years algae on the surface which can cause sickness has led to events being cancelled.

The Commmonwealth Games triathlon went ahead only after a £1 million project which included installing a barrier to separate part of the loch from the polluted South Calder Water.

The barrier will be removed to reinstate the park’s international rowing course, but the council believes that future swimming events could be held as the costs involved would be smaller second time around.

Triathlon Scotland certainly hopes the sport will return.

Jane Moncrieff, chief operating officer, said: “The Glasgow triathlon events were a resounding success and a great advertisement for the sport.

“Strathclyde Park is an excellent venue for triathlon racing and following the Games there will be discussions regarding the future feasibility of triathlon events there.

“It was great to see everyone enjoying our fantastic sport and we hope this will inspire children and adults alike to give a triathlon a go.”

International sport returns to the park on August 9 and 10 with the Commonwealth Rowing Championships taking place.

More from the triathlon in this week’s Times & Speaker, out now.