Only the beginning?

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APPLICATIONS for southside sports clubs have rocketed in the wake of the London 2012 Olympics.

After the games captured the imagination of the nation, budding athletes young and old have been attempting to follow in the footsteps of Farrah, Ennis and co.

The Glasgow Club — the council-run health association — has seen a 10 per cent increase in attendances during the games, with membership figures reaching a record-high of almost 27,000.

Langside councillor Archie Graham, chair of Glasgow Life, said: “ The record-breaking attendances shows Glasgow’s readiness to get involved in sport and become part of the sporting legacy that run alongside these events.

“The investment in facilities such as the new Commonwealth Arena is paying off”.

Giffnock North athletics club chairman Billy Glasgow has noticed a significant surge in interest. He told The Extra: “At our come and try nights normally 20 new athletes attend, but last night there were more than 80.

“We are now on the search for more coaches to cope with demand”.

The club has recently been boosted with an award for £1,960 from the Big Lottery 2014 communities to train a number of additional volunteer athletics coaches and purchase new sporting equipment.

Youngsters at Woodfarm high school also secured funding of £1,609 to develop a cycling programme at the school.

Glasgow Wheelers president David Lang thinks the performance by Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and the rest of Team GB has increased cycling’s profile almost to breaking point.

He said: “It is one of the fastest growing sports and we are now over-subscribed for every race we have. Once the veledrome opens in October, the sport will be pushed further to the forefront.

“Local clubs like us now face the challenge to put on more competitions to give all these people who want to race a chance to compete and develop”.

Glasgow triathlon club’s Alec-Angus Macdonald believes brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, who won gold and bronze respectively, have inspired a new generation of triathletes.

He said: “I am currently fielding a wave of fresh membership enquiries both from people not knowing what triathlon is about, to people with athletic pasts feeling inspired to get back into training.

“Among the current club members too, the Olympics has been a huge talking point.

“It provided our athletes with hours of quality footage of perfect technique to scrutinize and take with them to training sessions, as well as inspiring them and re-igniting their love of the sport”.

Meanwhile, Scottish Olympians and Paralympians will be honoured with a homecoming parade in Glasgow on September 14.

Local athlete Neil Gourley (17), a former Williamwood pupil who competes for Giffnock north, was victorious on Saturday at the Celtic International 800m.

The middle distance runner (pictured) told The Extra: “The Olympics — especially Mo Farah’s achievement —were eye opening. He has made British people believe it is possible to compete with the best at distance races.

“It has inspired me to work as hard as I possibly can and put myself in contention for selection for the Commonwealth games in 2014, or the Olympics in 2016”.