World Champion shot putter Tom Walsh has an exciting message for Christchurch – premier athletics is returning to our city with the New Zealand Track and Field Championships confirmed for 2019 and 2020.
Walsh says hosting the New Zealand Track and Field Championships is a fantastic development for the future of athletics in Christchurch and helps showcase our 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.
Walsh made the announcement on Friday night at Christchurch’s annual Big Shot athletics event, organised by the International Track and Field Trust, in preparation for his Commonwealth Games showdown next month.
"We are thrilled to have been able to attract this iconic major event to Christchurch and secure it for two years."ChristchurchNZ General Manager Attraction - Linda Falwasser
ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Attraction Linda Falwasser says the 2019 New Zealand Track and Field Championships will be the first major athletics meet at the city’s brand-new Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub, attracting some of New Zealand’s top athletes for the three-day event.
“We are thrilled to have been able to attract this iconic major event to Christchurch and secure it for two years,” Ms Falwasser says.
“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, welcomed the development in commenting, “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, Christchurch’s premier outdoor sports venue, with the track and field section opening in winter this year.
“As a South Island boy living in Christchurch, of course I’m biased when I say this is the best place for future Track and Field events,” Walsh 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.”