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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Upgraded SANTOS needs more to attract the stars

Upgraded SANTOS needs more to attract the stars

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NOT ENOUGH: Athletics SA president Tony Keynes (left)
and executive director Adam Bishop at Santos Stadium

Santos track doesn't go the distance
by Matt Turner
Weekly-Times Messenger
7 Apr 11

A RECENT upgrade of Santos Stadium’s athletics track is not enough to lure large-scale national meets to Adelaide, Athletics SA says.

The State Government spent $2.4 million on the new track - used for the first time last month - in a bid to bring top athletes back to the state.

But Athletics SA president Tony Keynes said the 13-year-old Mile End stadium required a new warm-up area and changerooms to secure such meets as an Australian junior championships or all-schools knockout, featuring about 2000 athletes.

Athletics SA expected those upgrades to cost between $8 million and $10 million.

Keynes said the changerooms needed cubicles to comply with occupational health and safety standards, while a proper warm-up track, rather than the “big grassed area” it had, was also needed.

“(The first stage) is a huge success, it’s fantastic and gets a 99.9 per cent tick from everyone who’s used it,” Keynes said.

“But there are issues outside of that. (The track) is just stage one, we’ve still got two (stages) to go.

“If you want big competitions ... we would have to have a lot more money spent out there. We really do have a long way to go to aspire to most other states’ overall complete facilities.”

Keynes said Athletics SA was working with the State Government to ensure the upgrades happened as soon as possible.

“Realistically we have to be patient and work with the government but we’re hoping to keep this thing moving over the next few seasons.”

Athletics SA executive director Adam Bishop said in the meantime the organisation would bid to host an Australian Athletics Tour meet - an elite three-hour twilight event featuring about 200 local and interstate athletes - at the start of next year.

Santos has not hosted a major elite meet since 2005.

“Bringing Sally Pearson and Steve Hooker, those sorts of role models, to Adelaide is really important,” he said. “That’s our dream and the sooner the better.” A spokeswoman from the Office for Recreation and Sport said future potential works, including “improvements to changing and traning facilities”, had been identified but required further investigation.

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