After a nearly two year delay in construction, the City of Cape Town on Thursday finally unveiled an upgraded Green Point Athletics Stadium, with the goal of making the city a hub for athletics in South Africa. The facility was originally meant to open in February 2013, but issues with the main construction group saw the stadium completed two years behind schedule.
Mayco member for Community Services & Special Projects, Belinda Walker, said there was a feeling of relief all round that the stadium was finally complete.
“There’s happiness that we’ve put the last piece of the 2010 jigsaw puzzle into place. It is our last legacy project from the 2010 World Cup. It has taken a long time, but we are finally there, and I think the end product is amazing,” she said.
The new stadium caters for both track and field events, and also includes facilities for sporting codes such as long jump, high jump, and shot put amongst others. It is seen as up to standard for the hosting of international events, and has been described as “world class” by City of Cape Town mayor, Patricia de Lille.
Tenancy will be held by three different sporting clubs, namely the Western Province Athletics Federation, Cape Peninsula University of Technology Athletics Club, as well as the Lions’ Club.
The stadium costs a whopping R85 million, and is situated just a stone’s throw away from the 64 000-seater Cape Town Stadium. This has brought about questions over the need for such a costly new facility, but with it seen as a far improvement over any of the current athletics fields in the city, Walker said this would be to the benefit of all.
“It is going to be a facility that the athletics fraternities in Cape Town are really going to appreciate. I think they have been missing it whilst it hasn’t been here,” she stated.
Access to the stadium will be controlled, and those seeking to use the facilities will be charged.
“People who qualify (for access) will be those who come in with the right equipment, so as to ensure the track and field do not get damaged,” she explained.
The stadium also holds particular historical significance, with its predecessor playing host to the city’s first ever multiracial sporting event, during the 1960s.
It will host its first official event on the 25th and 26th April, for the Cape Town leg of the World Triathlon Series. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)