ICC back down on athletics track

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Organisers of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 have agreed to allow local athletes to use Saxton Field’s athletics track this summer.

Under the contract between Nelson City Council and the tournament organisers there is an exclusivity period for the venue, including the athletics track and field, from January 26 until March 15 – a total of 49 days – the peak of the local athletics season.

The news of the contract and the possible shut out of local athletes was first reported by Nelson Weekly earlier this year.

But with venue planning now almost complete, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has been able to relax these requirements and access will now only be unavailable on the days leading up to and following the three matches to be hosted there.

That cuts the exclusivity period, as it applies to the athletics track and field, down to 19 days in total. For the rest of the time full or at least track only access will be available.

Deputy Mayor Paul Matheson says, “ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 organisers have a mammoth project with putting on this event across two countries, so it’s a real credit to them that they’ve been able to accommodate the needs of other local sporting codes in this way.”

Anthony Crummy, GM Operations NZ for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 adds, “Saxton Oval is shaping up to be one of the stars of what is now among the world’s largest sporting events. This means we have to be watertight in our planning, but the position we’re in now means we can accommodate most of the needs of the athletics community and make this an even better summer for the people of Nelson.”

John Moore, Chair of the Top of the South Athletics Trust says, “This is good news for our upcoming season. We can understand the need for the restrictions, and those originally in place, but this allows us to still carry out the bulk of our summer programme, which is crucial for our local athletes.”

The dates the track and infield will not be allowed to be used are from February 11 to 20 and from February 28 to March 8.