A DOUBLE Olympic gold medallist has praised the facilities available at the Basingstoke Sports Centre.

Dame Kelly Holmes visited the centre, which is run by Basingstoke Sports Trust, to officially open the £500,000 refurbishment of the fitness facility.

During her visit Dame Kelly told The Gazette, she was amazed by the size of the facility, with it being housed in Festival Place.

She said: “When I heard it was in a shopping centre you don’t expect it to be much, but once you are inside it is huge and there are so many twists and turns.

“With it being so central it is a great facility for a town to have, it’s a bit of a hidden gem really.”

This praise comes following The Gazette-led campaign to help Save the Sports Centre, which has raised concerns about the proposed plan to build a hotel at a site in Basing View.

The double Olympic Champion was the guest of honour as an ambassador for Pulse Fitness which provided the equipment upgrade of the centre’s ‘Evolve’ mixed gym.

Since completing the install and officially reopening the gym, the trust has seen a 10 per cent increase in memberships from those aged 14-18 years.

The Trust attributes this in part to the Pulse equipment, which is fitted with the latest technology including the ability to surf the web, watch the latest TV programmes as well as wide access to social media whilst working out.

The new cardiowalls are also proving popular with this younger audience as a great new way to get active.

James Starbuck, chief executive of the Basingstoke Sports Trust said: “We were delighted to welcome Dame Kelly Holmes to the centre.

“The new Pulse equipment has been extremely well received by our members. As a charity, our top priority is engaging the community in healthier, more active lifestyle choices and we are confident we have achieved the perfect mix of equipment.

“The equipment that we chose from Pulse Fitness was considered to be the best match in quality, value and the features it had to help us meet our strategic aims.”