Leicester College student Sukhwinder Singh, who lives in the West End, near to the gym in Braunstone Gate, said he was impressed. The 26-year-old was pumping iron in the centre’s gym, which is kitted out with more than 100 pieces of sports equipment.
“I’ll definitely be coming back,” Sukhwinder said. “It’s got everything I could need and more.”
De Montfort University student Sam Clifford, 24, who lives in Grasmere Street, in the city centre, and is studying for masters in product design, said: “It was about time students had some better facilities and these are top notch.
“The whole place is amazing. It’s really modern and fresh and I got a real surprise when I saw it had a climbing wall.”
Jasbir Kang, a university cleaner, was given a tour by fitness staff. The 61-year-old said she would be telling all her friends and family to visit. She said: “I go to another gym but having seen what this is like I’ll be coming back.
“I’m really impressed – it’s got everything you could want.”
Celebrations to mark the opening started with a sponsored swimathon in the 25m, six-lane pool.
A group of 12 youngsters from the Leicester Neptune swimming club were sponsored to swim the distance of the English Channel and back – covering a total of 5,633 metres each – to raise money for Loros hospice.
Neptune chairman Howard Smith said: “It’s been fantastic to come down here and test out the facilities, as well as raise funds for charity at the same time.
“The youngsters were really excited to be part of this and we hope when others see the likes of Rebecca Adlington winning bronze medals in the pool, they might just be inspired to take up the sport and join us.”
Roy Weller, 15, was part of yesterday’s swimathon attempt.
He said: “The pool is brilliant. It was amazing to dive in.”
Fellow swimmer Davina Socotra, 15, said: “It all feels really bright and fresh. I’m excited to be here.”
The centre also includes a dance studio, a cafe, an 800-seater sports hall and a climbing wall. University vice-chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard was joined by staff members for a football match in the sports hall.
Later, he tried out a spinning class and the climbing wall – which he admitted he was terrified of.
Prof Shellard said: “I’m really pleased with the building.
“It’s going to give students, staff, and residents some fantastic facilities and I’m very aware of the importance of this site for community use.
“These days, students are quite rightly demanding more from their universities and I’m pleased to say this sports centre delivers something which is absolutely first class.”
Free sessions are available at the centre until Sunday, August 12, as part of the university’s Olympic celebrations. Afterwards, people will have to become members to use the gym.