Auckland wants velodrome following junior worlds success

New Zealander Sam Webster gives it everything on his way to the gold medal in the keirin final.

New Zealander Sam Webster gives it everything on his way to the gold medal in the keirin final. (Image credit: Vassev Stoyan)

New Zealand’s strong showing at the weekend’s UCI Junior Track World Championships lends further support to the need for a indoor velodrome in Auckland, according to Cycling Auckland. The body is pushing for a 250 metre facility to be built to help further the sport in New Zealand, adding that it could be used during the 2018 Commonwealth Games which the nation is in the running to host.

“Cycling Auckland is looking to build a covered free span, all weather 250 meter track of international standard for the sport to gather more momentum and attract more participants at all levels,” said a Cycling Auckland release. “For several years, a small group of Cycling Auckland people have been investigating possible venues and building the framework for an organization to drive the project to fruition.”

Manukau City Council officials have indicated provisional support for the idea, including provision of a site for construction adjacent to the existing outdoor velodrome. A trust established by Cycling Auckland announced today that once prospective designs and budgets have been completed it shall be actively seeking funding from corporations, government and other sources.

Sam Webster claimed three gold medals at the Moscow, Russia event having completed much of his training at the 20-year-old outdoor Manukau Velodrome. Ethan Mitchell, a member of the gold medal winning team sprint along with Southland’s Cameron Karwowski, trained in similar conditions.

Initial designs for the facility would see the venue used for other sports like netball and suggest include office space could be used by national cycling bodies.

Invercargill, on the Southern tip of New Zealand’s south island, is the home to New Zealand’s only indoor velodrome which opened in mid 2006. Cycling Auckland suggests the facility could hold other international track events prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, if both the facility and event got the go-ahead, however it would face fierce competition for a UCI Track World Cup slot from Melbourne, Australia while the Invercargill facility currently plays host to the Oceania Track Cycling Championships annually.

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