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The Star: April 12, 2018

14 Latest Christchurch

14 Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Thursday April 12 2018 News Local News Now The Star Fire rages, homes at risk Long wait for sports hub almost over •From page 13 Mr Stark said “the Tom Walsh’s of the world” were keen to have the High Performance Sport NZ training facility at Jellie Park Recreation and Sport Centre moved to Nga Puna Wai in the future. The new athletics hub would have its first real test next year when it hosts the New Zealand track and field championships for Adam Gard’ner the first time since 2010. Athletics New Zealand events manager Gareth Archer said it would have three full days of competition, with more than 650 athletes competing. Nga Puna Wai would also host the event in 2020. Mr Archer was excited to show off the new facility. “The Canterbury athletics community are incredibly resilient and have continued to produce champions at all levels over this time – with a new, top class facility in town we see our sport going from strength to strength in Canterbury.” Nga Puna Wai would become a “key hub” for Tennis Canterbury, alongside its redeveloped Wilding Park. General manager Adam Gard’ner said it would make tennis more available and accessible, and allow it to meet the evolving needs of both casual play and competition. “We are already at bursting point with court requirements for interclub and various events, so the tennis facility at Nga Puna Wai will help us grow the current aspects of the sport.” Mr Gard’ner said after the quakes it had taken hard work from Tennis Canterbury and clubs to get facilities up and running again. “Nga Puna Wai embraces the new chapter in sport, where sports more and more are sharing spaces, resources and ideas, and continued thinking and practice on this will create some fantastic ideas for sports in the PROGRESS: Contractors have laid the base of the nine-lane, 400m athletics track, which will be up to an international standard. PHOTO: ATHLETICS CANTERBURY future.” Canterbury Rugby League will be the last to move into the complex, with its fields ready for light usage in the 2019 season. Chief executive Shane Collins said it was “hugely exciting” and “well worth the wait”. “Without a shadow of a doubt this will be the best rugby league facility in New Zealand apart from the big ones like Mt Smart.” For years, Addington’s Rugby League Park was the sport’s home before the site was converted to AMI Stadium following the February quake. While rugby league had maintained its numbers since then, it had struggled due to a lack of quality playing fields and lighting, Ms Collins said. Last year’s premiership grand final was meant to be played at AMI Stadium, but it was pushed back a week due to severe flooding. The final’s day had to Shane Collins be played at Linfield Park - the home of Linwood rugby union. “That highlighted for rugby league for seven years we have done it hard,” Ms Collins said. But Nga Puna Wai would provide certainty and new opportunities, which could include having NRL teams play or train there, she said. “This is starting to create a new future for rugby league,” Ms Collins said. “In 10 or 20 years we’re going to see how significant this is.”

The Star Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi Thursday April 12 2018 15