BRITAIN’S most decorated female Olympian has hauled the new £8.8 million sports academy at Hartpury College as overwhelming.

Dame Katherine Grainger opened the facility, which is part of the Hartpury College sports complex in the Forest, last week and praised the ‘cutting edge technology’ which is aimed to help athletes compete at their peak.

Dame Katherine was joined by 60 guests and, after a tour of the Academy, which sits alongside a leading equine centre and rugby training facilities used by Gallagher Premiership side Gloucester, she said: “I had read about the facilities but until you get the feel of the place and see everything is situ, you realise that in every single room there is something that you have never heard about or knew existed.

“It is an incredibly impressive place.

“When you have athletes who are passionate and inspired, you need brilliant people around to help to achieve their ambitions and you also ideally need good facilities.

“For example, there are things in athlete’s performances that they analyse that I could only have dreamt about during my career. That is very exciting.”

Rower Dame Katherine won three Olympic Games silver medals before finally hitting gold, appropriately enough in the London 2012 event where she partnered Anna Watkins to victory in the double sculls.