GLASGOW is lacing up its trainers and flexing its muscle as the city makes a bid to become the European Capital of Sport in 2023.

A delegation of officials from ACES Europe yesterday was presented with the best Glasgow has to offer as it vies for the prestigious title.

And if the city takes the accolade it will become the first place to do so twice.

It would also mark 20 years since Glasgow, which is shortlisted alongside Genoa, Italy, first gained the award back in 2003.

The visiting delegation from ACES Europe, a non-profit association based in Brussels which annually awards the titles of European Capital, City, Community and Town of Sport, will judge Glasgow against its five key principles and objectives: physical exercise as enjoyment; take part to compete; group spirit and feeling; fairness and respect, and; improving health.

Hugo Alonso, General Secretary of ACES Europe, said: "It's unique, the first time ever in the history of ACES Europe.

"It's not about repeating the work of 2003 - it's about asking for a little bit more from the city and its citizens to be more active more often.

"If you get the title you can improve by encouraging more sport and getting the residents more active - have a more healthy population, more optimistic and all the benefits that come with that."

Glasgow earned its earlier European Capital of Sport title by demonstrating its commitment to supporting grassroots level sport as well as its ability to attract major sporting events.

Since then, the city’s sporting reputation has grown as it hosted a series of world-class sporting events at outstanding venues; including the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the first-ever European Championships in 2018.

Over the next 12 months, Glasgow will host the 2019 LEN Short Course Swimming Championships, the 2020 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship, and UEFA EURO 2020.

John Swanson, Vice President of ACES Europe, said: "Way back in 2003 I was Head of Sport for Glasgow then so we put in for the award in 2002.

"I was pleased to say that we beat the city of Birmingham to gain the award and now we're going for the award 20 years later - I say 'we', I really feel still connected to the city.

"Over the last 20 years the city has phenomenally changed in regard to infrastructure that allows events to take place.

"I don't think we could have put on Commonwealth Games in my day and that change, to being a city that could host a Games, was truly inspiration to see.

"What Glasgow does very well is make the community part of event and create a real legacy before, during and after the Games.

"We don't focus on the headline events, what is more important for us is a sports for all policy to make sure everyone has the chance to take part in sport.

"We know Glasgow will use that award to get communities, particularly deprived communities, more active and focus on school sport to catch people early and get them involved in sport for life.

"I think Glasgow's prospects are very strong."

In the last decade Glasgow has invested more than £200 million in its sporting venues, attracting world-class athletes and international supporters and spectators.

Since 2009, attendances at Glasgow Club sports facilities have increased by more than 50 per cent, meaning more and more adults are taking positive steps to improve their health and wellbeing.

In addition, the number of junior members attending sports clubs across the city has more than quadrupled, demonstrating children are increasingly becoming active in sport at an earlier age.

Sport also adds huge value to the city’s economy contributing approximately £367m and employing around 10,000 people across the sector.

Last year Glasgow retained its title as the fifth best sporting city in the world according to the SportBusiness Ultimate Sports Cities awards.

Winning the 2023 European Capital of Sport title would add another jewel to the city’s crown of sporting glory.

Lord Provost Eva Bolander was at the Kelvin Hall yesterday as the delegation saw a two hour presentation about Glasgow and its sporting successes.

Ms Bolander said: "We are trying to sell Glasgow as an active, sporting city.

"We are not focussing on the big events but focussing on spreading community activities in the city.

"Sometimes we [should] focus a bit more on the more excluded groups and we plan to do that.

"In 2003 that helped Glasgow very much to go on this journey of investment and thinking about what physical activity means to the city.

"To win would be a huge honour for the city and I believe we are in with a good chance.

"If we win we would use this as a platform to focus on the general health and the importance of physical activity and well being and how exercise can prevent illness in later life.

"The more active you are, the better life you have.

"I think we have a pretty good chance of winning.

"We are up against Genoa, which is an active city focused on the outdoors and sailing.

"But Glasgow has a chance, we have a very strong chance."

Following the ACES Europe visit to the city, a voting process will take place with results announced in November 2019.