AUSTRALIA’S top track and field athletes will converge on the Gold Coast next year – but it won’t be for the Commonwealth Games.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Commonwealth Games Kate Jones today announced the city will host the 2018 Australian Athletics Championships, just weeks before the opening ceremony of the Games.
The event will run from February 15-18 at Carrara’s Metricon Stadium – the same stadium that will welcome thousands of athletes from across the globe for the Games in April.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The championships will be the first major athletics event to be held at Carrara Stadium and were secured through a partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland, GOLDOC and Athletics Australia.
“The Australian Athletics Championships will be the perfect warm-up event for the Commonwealth Games – not only for the athletes but for the world-class facilities at Carrara as well,” Ms Jones said.
“The world’s best are going to love the facilities at Carrara and we are delighted that Australia’s elite athletes will get the opportunity to experience them early through the national championships.
“The Commonwealth Games will be the biggest event in Queensland this decade and the excitement on the Gold Coast is already building, especially around the track and field, so to stage the Australian titles at Carrara is a real coup.
“Queensland’s reputation as Australia’s premier events destination continues to be enhanced by events like the Australian Athletics Championships which complement other large scale sporting events set to be held in Queensland including the Bledisloe Cup, the Rugby League World Cup Final, the first Ashes cricket Test and, of course, the Commonwealth Games.”
GOLDOC Chairman, Peter Beattie AC said the fact that the national championships were being held on the Gold Coast was a great opportunity to turn the spotlight on the city, its facilities, and the impending Commonwealth Games.
“We will be just 48 days away from hosting the biggest event Australia will see in more than a decade so we welcome every chance to trial the venue and promote the Games,” he said.
Athletics Australia’s interim chief executive officer Michael Hall said the Gold Coast was a popular choice amongst athletes at the perfect host for the Australian Championships, adding that Australia’s junior and para-athletes would compete in the 2018 Australian Junior Athletics Championships in Sydney from March 14-18.
“Next year presents a vital opportunity for Australian athletics to provide outstanding competition options for domestic and international athletes as they prepare for the excitement of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“The partnerships we have struck with relevant agencies in Queensland and New South Wales have allowed us to do that and we now look forward to celebrating the success of Australia’s athletes.
“Our member associations are working tirelessly to complement the national program with competition opportunities for athletes of all ages and abilities.
“You will struggle to find a weekend where you can’t participate and that’s exciting for the sport.”