STRI has ensured Team GB were treated to first class training pitches as Great Britain competed in the football competition for the first time since 1960. Eltham College who also hosted the other international football teams were playing their matches at Wembley Stadium.
Eltham College, which is celebrating its centenary as a world renowned educational institution, counts former Olympian Eric Liddell, who was a 400 metres gold medallist in the 1924 Games in Paris, as one of its alumini.
STRI was appointed to oversee the preparation of the pitches at Eltham in August 2011 and has improved the playing surface with irrigation, drainage and a surface renovation programme, managed by R&K Kensett Ltd. The south east London educational establishment has seen its football pitches levelled and reseeded to complement a newly refurbished College Meadow Pavilion.
Eltham College is one of eight venues throughout the UK that will benefit from a sporting legacy following the work done by Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) at all the football training facilities.
Commenting on the completion of improvement works at Eltham College Lee Penrose, Project Manager for STRI said: “The work we have undertaken on these pitches have not only given Stuart Pearce’s squad Premier League standard surfaces to train on, but will also prove a lasting legacy for the college to enjoy after the Games. They now have world class playing surfaces, and these improvements will ensure the pitches remain in great condition.”
Former Olympian and current STRI non-executive board member Derek Lewin represented the Great Britain football team at the 1956 Olympics in Australia. The team trained at a local school in Melbourne on the eve of the games there, and he acknowledges the legacy value of each training venue: “Educational establishments have often been utilised by Olympic teams but the standard of these training facilities has improved markedly beyond all recognition.”
Tony Timms, Eltham College Estates Manager, added: “Everyone at the college has been extremely proud to host Team GB and the other teams who have used our facilities. They were welcomed to first class training pitches following the work undertaken with STRI. In addition, following the Games, our pupils will benefit from the transformation for many years to come.”
STRI was established in 1929 to provide advice on golf course management now operates internationally in 51 countries and has advised on over 10,000 sports facilities.