BLACKBURN’S new £2.3m community athletics stadium at Witton Park opened this week.

The state-of-the-art arena includes an indoor 60m warm-up and training track with six lanes, new changing facilities, covered outdoor spectator terracing and a club room.

It is now being used by Blackburn Harriers Athletics Club to coach hundreds of aspiring young athletes.

The stadium opened less than two years after the London 2012 Olympics where the club’s athletes enjoyed success. Samantha Murray from Clitheroe secured a silver medal for modern pentathlon, Burnley’s Sophie Hitchon broke the British record to qualify for the hammer final, and Chorley’s Holly Bleasdale came sixth in the pole vault.

The new stadium has a 45-station Fitness Suite with views across the park, changing rooms and a fitness studio for spinning and exercise classes.

Some of the weekly classes will include Primal, Insanity and bootcamp-style fitness sessions.

Witton Park Arena will also offer young people regular Junior Gym sessions during the week.

The public opening times for the fitness suite are 6.30am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Borough leisure director Martin Eden said: “This is a first class athletics and fitness facility in a spectacular setting within Witton Park. I would like to thank the Harriers for their help in creating a facility that will transform athletics in the borough.

“The interest in the arena has been fantastic. The public can come along and have a look round.”

There is also a dance studio and the new stadium will soon see its first total resurfacing of the outdoor running track since 1984 and improved drainage for the field events area and a relocated pole vault site.

Blackburn Harriers secretary George Davies said: “We are absolutely over the moon. These are brilliant facilities that we hope can help develop the club’s next generation of Olympic athletes and possible medal winners.

“It is a great boost, not just for the club but the borough and East Lancashire’s athletes.”