01 September 2010

Essex Paralympian opens £1.4m gym at University

Colchester Campus

Danny Crates. Photo by Dominic Turner Photography

Essex sports star Danny Crates opened a new £1.4m gym and fitness suite at the University of Essex’s Colchester Campus today, Wednesday 1 September 2010.

More than 50 staff, students and members of the local sporting community joined Danny to open the new facility.

The new gym, called Evolve, is open to all, and students, staff and members of the public can choose from more than 130 fitness machines to help them get fitter.
Alongside the vast range of state-of-the-art running, rowing and resistance machines, equipment features iPod, video and USB port connectivity. The gym has been sensitively designed to maximise natural daylight making it a bright, spacious and enjoyable place to work out.

Paralympic champion Danny Crates won Paralympic gold in the Athens 2004 games for the 800 metres T46 arm amputee class. Having retired last year from international competition he now inspires and motivates others to reach their fullest potential.

Evolve marks the start of the University’s five-year Sports Strategy which aims to increase investment in sports facilities, improve the profile of sport across the University and encourage more involvement in sport – for the wider community as well as students and University staff.

The University has also launched a new sports membership scheme, Passport to Sport, which is open to students, staff and members of the public who want to use the new gym and other sports facilities at the University. Essex County Council also contributed to the building project, putting forward £200,000 from its Olympic Legacy Fund – with the sole purpose of supporting young people in Essex to fulfil their sporting potential.

The University of Essex’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said: “As a University we want to encourage the best in sporting achievement for our students; excellent training facilities are essential to that. We also want to provide a good environment where staff can exercise and, as part of the local community, we’re delighted to welcome local residents to take advantage of the new facilities on their doorstep.”

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