New Timaru 200 merter track Press Article

Photo of existing 166.66 meter Bank track, on the beautifull Caroline Bay, with the lovely White sand Blue water beach in the background, a likely venue when the Worlds can return to Oceania after a 2 decade absence, in the land of the famous New Zealand skaters & our next door neighbours, the once previously once number one World Nation back in 1989.

Big plans for new track
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2011

Mark Lowen and Nicole Begg
STU PIDDINGTON/The Timaru Herald
ON TRACK: Mark Lowen and Nicole Begg at the South Canterbury Rollerskating Club.
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Timaru will soon have another international sporting venue with confirmation the South Canterbury Roller Skating Club will start work on an international 200 metre track at Caroline Bay in April.

The club has raised $312,000 and is confident it will be able to add the further $90,000 needed over the next six months.

Stage one of the project is to demolish the outdated and badly cracked 166-metre track and lay a bitumen banked track.

The new track will cost just under $330,000 and the balance of the money will be used to move the club rooms and brick wall at the western end to make way for the extension of the track.

Development co-ordinator Mark Lowen said it was great to think work would start just over a year from when they started fundraising.

“The state of the track is dangerous for speed skating so it will be great to have a new facility next season.”

Major donors to the project are the Community Trust of Mid and South Canterbury ($100,000), Timaru District Council ($50,000), Southern Trust ($50,000), Pub Charities ($20,000) and Trust Aoraki ($11,000), plus donations from service clubs and other supporters.

The club has also raised about $50,000 from such events as raffles, firewood and garage sales, and sausage sizzles.

Lowen said they had launched a raffle which they hoped would raise a further $20,000. He said there had been a lot of enthusiasm for the project.

Inline skating in Timaru has long been synonymous with the Begg family and for years they flew the flag alone.

But the South Canterbury Roller Skating Club has been revitalised over the past two years, with a hardworking committee and a speedskating team that has produced two age-group New Zealand representatives. The club now boasts more than 120 members.

The dramatic change came two years ago after 21-year-old former world champion, Nicole Begg, offered free lessons at the almost forgotten track, along with her mother, Cheryl, who also won world titles.

Since then, new life has been breathed into the facility and the revival is almost complete with up to 100 casual users skating on Sunday afternoons, and Friday night club skating.

A serious speed skating group has also been training hard with the Beggs and some of that group appear to have the potential to represent New Zealand over the next few years.

A Tour of Timaru event has also been re-introduced and has drawn large numbers of competitors, including top skaters from the North Island.
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Bill Begg, Nicole’s father and a renowned international coach, said it would be superb to see a world-class facility in Timaru.

“It will be the best in Australasia and we will be able to offer all sorts of events, as well as an off-season training facility for those in the northern hemisphere.”

Begg is working on his global contacts in the sport in the hope Timaru could host the World Inline Speed Skating Championships in 2015.

He has already had informal talks with International Federation of Roller Sports secretary Roberto Marotta and he believes the time is right to bring the championships back to New Zealand, after Hastings in 1989.

With over 50 countries competing and each country allowed up to eight skaters in each division, there would be real benefits for Timaru, he said.

Timaru’s original speed skating track was built alongside the memorial walkway in 1963 but had to be relocated with the construction of the Port Loop Rd.

After much debate a location was finally accepted by the club and the council and in 1974 the bank track facility was built.

– The Timaru Herald

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