CALLS are being made to open up Tweedbank athletics track during the forthcoming World Championships.

Councillor Euan Jardine wants operators Live Borders to drop charges during the nine days of the Championships in Doha in a bid to get more Borderers running.

The former Scottish hill running internationalist is being backed by current top 800 metres GB athlete Guy Learmonth.

Councillor Jardine raised his idea with Live Borders chief executive Ewan Jackson last week.

The Conservative member for Galashiels said: "This is a great opportunity, to engage and ignite a passion for the sport in people that may not know that we have an 400 metres track in the Scottish Borders.

"It would be great to see people running or jumping at the stadium during the championships.

"Traditionally people only access the track during club nights.

"This can be a bit overwhelming for anyone trying out the track for the first time.

"So to get an opportunity to go along for free and run how you feel with no pressure is an ideal way to become familiar with your surroundings."

Backing the calls for the facility to be opened up during the Championship is Berwickshire's Guy Learmonth.

The former Scottish 400 and 800 metres champion told us: “It would be incredible as increasing participation in the sport is vital.

"Especially for the younger generation so to have it more accessible and free would be great. Just to see young people out there enjoying themselves taking part in this fantastic sport would be amazing.

"The facilities are great and I would encourage Live Borders to open up the gates and show how good the sport is during the Championships!”

Although Live Borders have welcomed the suggestions, they were non committal about free running during the World Championships.

A spokeswoman said: “Councillor Jardine raised some great suggestions about Live Borders’ activity in relation to the opportunities arising from the World Athletics Championships taking place this year.

"We will most certainly be using the increased attention on athletics as a catalyst for our engagement with all ages and abilities, to encourage athletic development all year round in collaboration with our Sports Development team.”