Irelands will bring top sports to region

MORE than $1 million will be spent developing an accessory base to the Australian Institute of Sport at Emu Park.

Olympic gold medalist Bridgette Ireland and her husband, former champion ironman Gary, who also have links to the Victorian Institute of Sport, are behind the ambitious project.

Their plans to redevelop the Don Ireland Swim Complex will pave the way for national and international athletes and coaches to train in the region.

Mr Ireland said a new 25-metre heated pool would be built at the complex to complement the existing 25-metre cold water pool.

Other new features would include a fully-equipped sports gym, hydrotherapy education pool, detox and sauna box, and hot and cold tubs.

A cafe and surf shop are also proposed.

Mr Ireland said high-performance training programs would be developed across a variety of sports including triathlon, ironman and ocean swimming.

He said Dr Istban Gorgieyn, Australian water polo head coach, had committed to bringing athletes from all over the world to train at the facility.

He said there were also plans to start an ocean swimming series event.

"We've got the most unique environment to train here,'' Mr Ireland said.

"We'll build this and bring people from all over Australia and all over the world.''

Mr Ireland said the facility would not just be for elite athletes and would cater for people from all walks of life.

Pending council approval, he hopes to start redevelopment work by May.

Mrs Ireland captained the Australian women's water polo team to gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Mr Ireland coached Australian swim and surf teams for a decade.

They have invested about $2 million in developing North Rockhampton's Rock Pool Waterpark.

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