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End of an era amid doubts over new venue funding

Published: Saturday 16th April 2011  |  More News

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Athletics bids farewell to Melbourne's Olympic Park this weekend without guaranteed funding for its new home at Albert Park.

Athletics Australia is anxiously awaiting the May 3 State Budget to see whether the Government has allocated enough funding to complete the state-of-the-art facility.

The sport was booted off its spiritual home in 2008 when then Premier John Brumby pledged $50 million to move all Olympic sports to Albert Park.

Bulldozers will move in after Sunday's final event of the national championships at Olympic Park to begin transforming the stadium into a training ground for Collingwood Football Club.

Athletics Australia president Rob Fildes said last night he hoped the Coalition Government wouldn't back away from the project.

"We're just hoping the Victorian Government will look after athletics and complete it all properly," he said.

There has been a blowout in costs after the southern grandstand at the Bob Jane Stadium was declared unsafe and in need of a total overhaul.

Athletics needs the stadium up to international standard by next year as it wants to continue hosting IAAF Diamond League events.

The track is expected to be completed by September but other requirements, including new light towers, remain in limbo.

Scott Gullan
Herald Sun

 

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