Athletics: Resurfacing of track due to begin

Resurfacing of the Caledonian Ground track will begin next week. Photo by Peter Mcintosh.
Resurfacing of the Caledonian Ground track will begin next week. Photo by Peter Mcintosh.
The resurfacing of the Caledonian Ground track is expected to be completed in time for the first day of the Otago athletics championships, February 22.

Dunedin City Council sports field facilities officer Harold Driver said yesterday a grinding machine, used for resurfacing, arrived in Dunedin on Monday.

A container ship bringing resurfacing materials from Germany will berth at Port Chalmers on Saturday and will be on site early next week.

The work was meant to start early this month but the glue that is used on the track could not leave Germany because of the freezing temperatures in Europe in December.

If the temperature is below zero the crystals in the mixture become unusable.

The delay was necessary so the materials to be used on the track could be sent in a climate-controlled container.

"We just need two weeks of good weather to complete the job," Driver said.

"We have long daylight in the South and the staff will work long hours to get the job completed.

"I have set them a deadline of February 16 to finish the work,"In its original planning for the season, Athletics Otago planned to have the early interclub meetings this year at Memorial Park, Mosgiel.

The first meeting on the resurfaced track was scheduled for February 7 and the Otago championships 5000m would be held that day.

Athletics Otago administrator Margaret Knox said the 5000m championships would now be held during a midweek meeting when the resurfacing of the track was completed.

The track was closed for training on Monday so preparation work for the resurfacing could begin.

It remained available for training during most of this month.

Otago track and field selection panel convener Raylene Bates was happy with facilities on the grass track at Memorial Park.

"The only groups of athletes that would be affected are the high jumpers and pole vaulters because there are no other facilities for them in Dunedin," Bates said.

"We can't do anything about the track being out of action.

''We just have to be innovative.

''If athletes want to compete on all-weather surfaces they can travel to Invercargill, Timaru and Christchurch."

Dunedin had the first all-weather track in New Zealand when it was opened at the old Caledonian Ground in 1962.

The track was shifted to Logan Park in 1999 and the new Caledonian Ground all-weather track was available for training in May 1999.

The first track season at the new ground was held in 1999-2000.

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