I was lucky enough to visit the new athletics track at South Melbourne on the weekend. I’ll keep this short and sweet, but it was probably the best night of athletics in Australia for quite some time.
We saw world 800m champion, David Rudisha, we saw Sally Pearson run the fastest 100m women’s hurdles ever on Australian soil, as well as equal her personal best over the 200m. Finally, to watch Buster Mottram win the 5000m, coming up home straight, arms raised in the pouring rain was spine tingling.
It’s amazing to see what they’ve done with the old Lakeside Oval. I know that they’ve been playing soccer there for the last few years, but to see the old grandstand rejuvenated with a modern administrative facility, and the beautiful blue 400m track was very impressive. It’s testament to what I believe is a great Melbourne attitude. While history and nostalgia attach us to the old Olympic Park, it had become quite rundown, and Lakeside Oval had as well. The relocation of athletics HQ is a win-win, similar to the refit of the old Olympic swimming pool/entertainment centre for the VIS.
The only downside to all of this, is that Collingwood will be getting a brand new and improved training facility, which may see them more competitive in the AFL. You can’t win ‘em all.