WA's elite athletes will get a huge boost ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the form of a $33.7 million WA Institute of Sport high-performance service centre set to be "the envy of Australia".
The state-of-the-art facility will replace the existing centre at Challenge Stadium, which has fallen behind the national standard since it was established in 1987.
Sport and Recreation Minister Terry Waldron joined gymnast Lauren Mitchell, javelin thrower Kim Mickle and wheelchair basketballer Shaun Norris in celebrating the start of construction yesterday.
Scheduled for a staggered opening from late next year to early 2015, the new HPSC will feature an environmental simulation laboratory, sport science testing facilities and an indoor runway.
For Mickle, who won silver at this year's World Championships in Moscow, it will be a welcome move after 12 years at the existing centre. "Hopefully people can realise this is a great investment for Australian sport," she said.
Perth Wheelcats and Australian Rollers star Norris said the new HPSC would bring WA up to speed. "When you go to the AIS or even over east and see the facilities they've got with the recovery, strength, research - they're just light years ahead of us," he said.Mitchell said it could give athletes a winning edge.