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David Weir 'deeply moved' by leisure centre renaming in Sutton

Record-breaking Paralympic Gold Medallist David Weir CBE said he was 'deeply moved' today (16 May) at an official ceremony to rename a leisure centre in his honour.

David Weir 'deeply moved' by leisure centre renaming in Sutton

Record-breaking Paralympic Gold Medallist David Weir CBE said he was 'deeply moved' today (16 May) at an official ceremony to rename a leisure centre in his honour.

The Paralympian, who added four Gold Medals at London 2012 to the two he won in Beijing four years earlier and has also won six London Marathons, added he was "absolutely delighted" by the decision to rename the Sutton Arena as the David Weir Leisure Centre.

The Sutton Arena Leisure Centre in St Helier, which boasts facilities to suit everyone from elite athletes to those just trying to keep fit, has been at the heart of sport in Sutton since it first opened as a simple cinder track in 1953.

David said: "I am absolutely delighted. It is a very great honour. I have trained there and taken part in a few events there and it's an excellent facility."

The Paralympic hero added: "My daughter comes to this leisure centre with her school and it will be very exciting for her to see my name over the door."

The formal renaming included a speech by Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of Sutton Council's Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, who said: "David's achievements are absolutely astonishing and they provide great pleasure and pride for everyone in the borough. Renaming the leisure centre in David's honour is our way of showing the affection and respect we have for him."

And David was interviewed on stage by students from Citizenship Media Group, a student film-making society,  before he went out on to the track to officially start a race and present medals to winners.

It is not the first time the athlete, who grew up in the South London borough and has lived there all his life, has been honoured by his local authority.

In 2009 a few months after returning from Beijing he was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough, the first person in 30 years to receive the recognition.

The centre, then named Carshalton Sports Arena, was first used in 1953 when it had a 440 yard cinder track. The facilities developed over the years and when the centre was significantly refurbished it was renamed Sutton Arena Leisure Centre.

Now, in addition to the state-of-the-art facilities for elite athletes and seating for 300 spectators, it also has a broad range of events, training and equipment to appeal to local users of all ages and abilities.

Sutton Council also took the opportunity to launch a new sports and physical activity programme for people with disabilities at the event.

Last updated: Thursday, 16 May 2013

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