Premier athletics is returning to Christchurch with the New Zealand Track and Field Championships confirmed for 2019 and 2020.
The national championships will be the first major athletics event at the Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, which is currently under construction.
World champion shot putter Tom Walsh announced that Christchurch had won the right to host the national championships at this afternoon’s Big Shot athletics event, in which he is competing as preparation for his Commonwealth Games showdown next month.
Walsh says hosting the New Zealand Track and Field Championships is a fantastic development for the future of athletics in Christchurch and will help showcase the city as a world-class events destination for future sporting events.
“With over 100 years of history, the New Zealand Track and Field Championships is one of the country’s oldest sporting competitions and I’m excited this iconic event is heading back to Christchurch,” he says.
“Track and Field has sadly been without a home in Christchurch, where it has such strong community support, so it will be a great opportunity for everyone to get behind our local athletes and celebrate a brand-new state of the art venue at Ngā Nga Puna Wai.”
ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Attraction Linda Falwasser says the organisation is thrilled to have been able to attract the National Track and Field Championships to Christchurch and secure the event for two years.
“Events such as these bring real benefit to our city, they bring visitors and ongoing economic benefit and they give our young people a chance to see top-class athletes in action. It helps kids imagine themselves achieving great things.”
Ms Falwasser says these national championships are a great opportunity for the Christchurch community to share in the excitement and provide some home crowd support for our local athletics talent,” she says.
Hamish Grey, Chief Executive of Athletics NZ, has also welcomed the news.
“Athletics in Christchurch has been without a permanent home since the earthquake and we are well aware of the pressure that this has put on athletics locally. Canterbury athletics officials have done a fantastic job in promoting athletics competitions over this time and the opening of Ngā Puna Wai represents an exciting opportunity to grow the sport.”
“We are delighted to bring our flagship event, the New Zealand Track and Field Championships, to Christchurch at the first opportunity. We are very grateful for the support of ChristchurchNZ to allow the event to be hosted in Christchurch and look forward to working with them and the local athletics community to develop athletics around the staging of the event.”
Athletics is one of four codes that will have a new home at Ngā Puna Wai. Tennis, hockey and rugby league will also be accommodated within the sports hub, which is being built on a 32-hectare section of Ngā Puna Wai reserve in southwest Christchurch.