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€3.7m centre open to children and athletes

A schoolboy quickly flips over backwards under the watchful eyes of another student at the new €3.7 million Kirkop sports complex that was inaugurated yesterday by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clyde Puli. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

A schoolboy quickly flips over backwards under the watchful eyes of another student at the new €3.7 million Kirkop sports complex that was inaugurated yesterday by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clyde Puli. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Hundreds of schoolchildren from St Benedict’s College will be able to let off steam in a huge 2,000 square metre, €3.7 million sports complex in Kirkop.

The complex has four multi-purpose halls, a fitness centre and also includes an athletic track and pitch with synthetic turf.

About 15 sports disciplines can be practised there including football, athletics, netball, volleyball, basketball, badminton, futsal, gymnastics and dance, among others. The complex also boasts a shooting simulator that is even used by Maltese champion sharpshooter William Chetcuti for training.

Youth and Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clyde Puli, who inaugurated the complex with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday, said the simulator would help identify children interested in the sport from a young age.

The complex will also be used by sports organisations after school hours and will be accessible to the community.

Come September, it will be used by young athletes attending the new National Sports School.

Plans have been filed with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to build a similar complex in Ħandaq to be linked with the St Ignatius College.

Dr Gonzi said the government had invested heavily in sports, athletes and associations and, this year alone, had launched 26 schemes.

Through such schemes, athletes could take special leave to continue training, an offer that would be extended to athletes working in the private sector next year.

A unit was also set up in the army allowing national athletes to become recruits while continuing their training, Dr Gonzi said.

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