AN OLYMPIC athlete has given the thumbs-up to a £1.8m sports makeover in Slaithwaite.
Huddersfield-born runner Emily Freeman dropped in on the newly-refurbished Colne Valley Leisure Centre to see how the finished scheme was shaping up.
The former Greenhead College student was impressed as she toured the modernised facilities, including a new fitness suite, pool area, sports hall and changing rooms.
The 28-year-old – who grew up in Mirfield – said: “I have trained in some really grim places over the years like old churches and school basements.
“This is really great. It is more like a hotel than what you would expect from a sports centre.
“It makes such a difference when you’re training to have things working in a clean environment with nice facilities.
“I really hope it motivates people to use it and lead healthier active lifestyles.”
Since returning from the Beijing Olympics last year – where she reached the 200m semi-finals – Emily has been training hard six days a week to improve her time.
She added: “At the moment I am training hard for the world championships in Berlin. Obviously, I have my sights set on the 2012 Olympics, which is my major aim. I’ll be going for gold.”
The leisure centre was refurbished as part of a joint venture by Kirklees Council and Kirklees Active Leisure.
The pool – which boasts new showers, tiling and pumps for better air and water temperatures – was finally finished last month.
Alasdair Brown, chief executive of Kirklees Active Leisure (Kal), said: “We are extremely proud of the work that has transformed Colne Valley Leisure Centre and our customers seem to be very happy with it.
“This is a fantastic example of Kal working in partnership with Kirklees Council to improve services for local people.”