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New Christchurch training base important for elite athletes

New Christchurch training base important for elite athletes
October 19, 2012

A new high performance training base in Christchurch will play an important part in South Island athlete's build-up to their next world championships, Olympic or Paralympic Games.

The New Zealand Government has been committed to providing high performance training facilities for Canterbury-based athletes following earthquake damage to the Centre of Excellence at QEII Park.

Sport New Zealand, High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and Christchurch City Council have been working together to provide a place for high performance athletes to train.

The $3.5 million facility is being fully funded by the Government and is being built on land which is part of the Jellie Park Recreation and Sports Centre complex. Athletes should be able to start using the new high performance centre from March next year.

Sport New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin says the Government is investing $32 million in high performance sports facilities around the country and the Christchurch facility will be part of this world-class network.

Miskimmin explains "the Government is investing in infrastructure to enhance the training and competition environment so that Kiwi athletes are well prepared to compete and win on the world stage."

HPSNZ Chief Executive Alex Baumann says the Christchurch basewill provide a central training base for athletes based in Canterbury, and others going in and out of Christchurch, where they can access excellent facilities as well as the specialist skills of HPSNZ staff.

Baumann states "we're really looking forward to being able to provide both the athletes and our staff here in Christchurch with a new home base."

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker adds "this is an exciting day for elite athletes in Christchurch, who have faced challenges after the earthquakes with no one central location for training. The Council is pleased to be able to support our city's athletes by allowing Sport New Zealand to construct a regional high performance hub on Council land at Jellie Park.

"Christchurch has a proud sporting heritage and has produced many of the country's top sports people over the years. This hub will ensure that high calibre athletes living here continue to reach their full potential while the proposed Metro Sports Facility outlined in the Christchurch Central Development Unit's blueprint is developed."

The start of work on the facility has been marked this week with a short ceremony at Jellie Park.

When completed, the high performance hub will include a gymnasium with cardio and weights areas, an indoor running straight, physiotherapy consulting rooms, medical consulting rooms, showers, recovery areas, an athlete lounge, as well as office space for HPSNZ staff. The indoor training area will include a full-size netball court, and this court will be available for the community when not being used by elite athletes.

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