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HUNDREDS of Glasgow schoolchildren gave the thumbs up to the £113m Emirates Arena as the key Glasgow 2014 venue was officially opened to the public day.
The huge complex in the east end of the city includes the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the National Indoor Sports Arena and was funded by the city council and national agency sportscotland.
Around 400 pupils from across Glasgow joined politicians and 2014 Games organisers for the official opening and try out athletics, badminton, basketball and track cycling.
The pupils cheered as they were welcomed into the arena by council leader Gordon Matheson who said the venue belongs to "the children of the city".
He unveiled a plaque to mark the opening and joined the children for a trial of some of the sports.
Professional basketball team Glasgow Rocks also held an open training session before their first match at the indoor arena on Sunday against Newcastle Eagles on Sunday.
"The arena is simply spectacular and it's great to be surrounded by Glasgow school kids enjoying world-class facilities in their home town," Mr Matheson said.
"It's principally for use for the people of the city and there will be elite athletes using it over the next few months and throughout the Commonwealth Games, but it's for everyone to make use of.
"This area was wasteland a few years ago and we now have a world-class venue. So I want young people to come here to try it out, watch elite athletes and be inspired by what happens in here."
Children from Dalmarnock Primary were the first group to try out the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and were suitably impressed.
Pupil Sean Clark said: "It's brilliant. I've only cycled outside before on the pavement but it's much better inside because the ground is smooth and you can go much faster."
The first lap of the velodrome was cycled by the man it is named after earlier this week. Sir Chris, Britain's most successful Olympian, described it as "fantastic" and said he hopes it will produce the next generation of cycling champions.
Sean could be one of those, as he said: "I got a new bike in the summer and want to join a club. I've never really had a proper race but it looks good fun and I want to try it."
Pupils were also able to try their hand at athletics, badminton, basketball, football and netball in the indoor arena and in three full-size sports halls.
Lisa Dunn from Sacred Heart Primary tried out hurdling and the javelin with a foam arrow.
"I have only really watched these sports on TV, so it was good to try them, and better than a day at school," she said.
"The building is really cool and I want to come here when the Commonwealth Games is on."
Sport Minister Shona Robison was delighted with the completed venue after visiting it during construction. She hopes it will promote sport among young people.
"This venue will allow all children to participate in new sports that might give them a life-long interest and help them to be fit and healthy. Some people will hopefully rise to the top but it is just as important that lots of people just enjoy sport and become more active," the minister said.
"From whatever angle you look at it this is a major step forward for Glasgow and for Scotland."
The arena covers 10.5 hectares and also has a Glasgow Club health and fitness centre, a luxury spa, an outdoor 1km closed cycle circuit and four outdoor five-a-side football pitches.
It will host eight Scottish, European or world-level sporting events in its first four months, including the Track World Cup in the velodrome in November.
It was named the Emirates Arena in a deal struck with the Middle Eastern airline last week, although the sponsorship will be removed for the duration of the Games.
The arena took two years to build, with 500 people working on the site during peak construction, according to the council. Around 175 people work there now.