International athletes thrill crowds at new track

Pietermaritzburg is set to attract more world-class sporting events with this weekends official opening of the Msunduzi Athletics Track, furtehr cemtning the city’s status as the sporting capital.
South African Olympic medallist Godfrey Mokoena and African championships medallist Simon Magakwe were some of the local athletes, while Cheswill Johnson, Inika McPherson and Amina Smith from the USA also headlined the opening ceremony.
Mayor Themba Njilo said he was elated that the stadium was now open for all to use.
“We are over the moon and excited at the opening of the stadium. The building that started in 2011 is completed. We want the people of Msunduzi and the people of the world to enjoy the stadium. We have built this for them. The stadium is also for the children who live on the street and those at school, so that they can use the facilityto train and grow their talent,” said Njilo.
The R92 million athletics track is certified by the International Amateur Athletics Federation. It boasts a main pavilion, pre-cast embankment seats, suites, padded VIP seating, a clubhouse and football pitch.
Uncertainty over the opening of the track continued until late on Friday until an eleventh-hour agreement between the municipality and KwaZulu-Natal Athletics resulted in both parties agreeing to the launch of the Msunduzi Athletics Track on Saturday.
KZN Athletics had opposed the launch saying they had not been involved in preparations for the opening of the track.
After hours of negotiations on Friday, the parties agreed to attend to all matters raised, including ensuring safety issues were attended to and the International Amateur Athletics Federation granted permission to the staging of the event.
Speaking to Capital Newspapers after the court order was issued, KZN Athletics president, Sello Mokoena, said they were happy important issues had been sorted out.

  AUTHOR
Maritzburg Sun Reporter

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