The Tamworth Regional Athletics Centre officially opened on the weekend, with hundreds of locals and visitors attending the ceremony.
After six years of planning and construction, the $17.2 million project features state-of-the-art athletics and cycling facilities.
Growing the sport of athletics in regional New South Wales has always been a significant focus of LANSW, and Little Athletics NSW CEO Kerry O’Keefe hopes that this newly-develop track will encourage participation in the New England region.
“Regional New South Wales has never had the facilities that the city areas do, so to have something like this in a town like Tamworth, athletics can do nothing but grow. I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they see. I think there be some people from Sydney even jealous by what they see,” said O’Keefe.
“In the New England area, we have somewhere in the vicinity of 600-800 kids. If we could just harness that a bit more, and now that we’ve got the facility, hopefully we can.”
Tamworth is hosting the LANSW State Combined Events Carnival in February next year – Little Athletics NSW Regional Support & Development Officer Adam Jolliffe is delighted that young athletes from around the state will be travelling to his home town for one of the sport’s biggest competitions.
“This will grow our sport in the New England, no only at Little A’s level, but also at senior level,” said Jolliffe.
“We welcome everyone up here to Tamworth. It’s a beautiful place; I’ve lived here all my life. It will be fantastic to open my front door and welcome everyone to Tamworth.”
Tamworth Little Athletics Centre President Samantha Cox is thrilled about the new facility, primarily because the old track was visibly suffering from the harsh climate.
“The grass track is very worn with the drought, unfortunately. The ground is very hard, so having the tartan track for kids to train on practice on is fantastic,” said Cox.
“It’s state-of-the-art; we don’t have to travel to Sydney now to actually have fantastic facilities to run on.”