THE first combined European Championships (previous sporting competitions have been held not as one event like the Olympics, but separately) came to a triumphant close last weekend.
I never made it to the London 2012 stadia, so it was a real thrill to see the competitive swimming close up in Glasgow.
Inside the Tollcross swimming centre it was rather stifling, but when the races kicked off, spectators from the public viewing stands to the press tribunes were so enthralled by the drama in the pool that our own conditions no longer mattered.
Tollcross is Glasgow’s newest pool, built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games but routinely open for public use. It wouldn’t feel out of place in France, where they take great pride in public leisure centres.
But Glasgow too has a proud history in this regard — for its people, not its politicians. When the city council announced the closure of Govanhill Baths, the strong community on Glasgow’s southside occupied the city’s last surviving Edwardian public bathhouse for almost five months.
The building was saved from sell-off, and has recently operated as a community centre. The small teaching pool has reopened, but full restoration is contingent on funding, and in March a Scottish government regeneration fund rejected an application for a £2.1 million grant.
With any major sporting event, we hear lots of talk of “legacy.” But this will remain just a buzzword if the historic baths of one of Scotland’s most deprived and yet closest-knit communities remain dry.
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