It’s only 18 weeks today until the World Police and Fire Games kick off in Belfast and the venues are getting ready to host up to 25000 visitors. One venue, the Mary Peters Track at Malone has undergone a £3million refurbishment and is the first project to be finished as part of the Belfast City Council £150million investment programme. The new track is the same as the track used in the Olympic Stadium last summer, so the standards are high and the venue is now capable of attracting International athletics events. The upgrade includes a new eight-lane track, a revamped field events area and spectators stand.
The revamped track was reopened this morning by Dame Mary Peters and the Mayor, Gavin Robinson.
Alderman Robinson said: “The decision to build an athletics track to honour `Golden Girl` Mary Peters after her success in winning an Olympic gold medal in 1972 was one of the greatest sporting legacies for Belfast. This track has played its part as a nurturing ground for young ambitious talents.”
Winning the bid to host the 2013 World Police and Fire Games provided Belfast with the catalyst to look at updating the venue, he said. “Suddenly we had to ensure we had the facilities to host what is second only to the Olympics in terms of the number of competitors and events.
“That proved the catalyst for Belfast City Council to invest £3million and upgrade the facility. Today we can all look around us and see the result of such an inspired decision – one example of the many strands to our investment package.
“This upgraded venue will attract international events but, of equal importance, is the fact that these are for the people of Belfast. They are for young people, some of whom are here today, to help develop their skills and hopefully enjoy future success in the athletics field,” added the Lord Mayor.
Dame Mary Peters said she was delighted that the track named in her honour would continue to serve Belfast and Northern Ireland. It provided not only the highest standard training facility for up and coming athletes but for the many spectators it would welcome to future sporting events here.
“I congratulate and thank the council for their investment which I am sure will contribute to the future sporting success of athletes from Belfast and Northern Ireland.
“I am thrilled with what I have seen here today and especially pleased that this will continue to be a legacy for future generations.”