The future of the sliding facility in Calgary remains in doubt ©Getty Images

Concerns over the future of the sliding track used during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary have grown after the demolition of the first five corners began last week.

The track will be closed for the foreseeable future and a re-opening date has not yet been confirmed by operator WinSport.

The demolition of the first five corners forms part of the planned CAD$25 million (£15 million/$19 million/€17 million) renovation to the famous track.

Around CAD$17 million (£10 million/$13 million/€12 million) has been committed to the project by the Province and Federal Governments but where the other CAD$8 million (£5 million/$6 million/€5.5 million) will come from remains unclear.

The remainder of the upgrades needed for the track, which is over 30 years old, are on hold until the remaining funding is secured.

It has led to increasing concern among athletes, officials and the local community over whether the facility will ever re-open.

WinSport has admitted it was relying on Calgary hosting the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to foot the rest of the bill but the city's bid was ended following a referendum defeat last November.

The delay in securing the remaining funding has left the future of the track in serious jeopardy ©Getty Images
The delay in securing the remaining funding has left the future of the track in serious jeopardy ©Getty Images

A number of Olympians living in Calgary have gathered at the finish line of the track as part of a lobbying effort to ensure its future is preserved.

WinSport President and chief executive Barry Heck told CTV News that there was "no plan to take down the track" but was unable to set a timeframe on its possible re-opening.

"The only assurance we can give is we’re going to work very hard to do everything in our power to secure the necessary financing to get the project back on track," he said.

WinSport revealed earlier this year that the track, which hosted bobsleigh, luge and skeleton at Calgary 1988, would be closed to allow the facility to be renovated.

Delays in securing the required funding also saw the 2021 Luge World Championships relocated from Calgary to Whistler.