Compact athletics facility launched in bid to drive participation

Christine Ohuruogu launches new athletics facility in east London, with plans for further compact athletics facilities said to be in motion

Ohuruogu at Compact Athletics Facility launch

Christine Ohuruogu has praised the sport’s governing bodies for “getting creative” with ways to get athletics into the inner-city with the launch of a compact athletics facility in Stoke Newington School, east London.

Funded by England Athletics, Sport England and the London Marathon Trust with support from UK Athletics, the facility includes a sprint straight, a long jump straight and pit, a high jump area, a running trail around the school and a throws area.

Around 400 people from the local community are expected to use the facility outside of school hours each week initially, alongside everyday use by school children.

“It’s great to see our sport’s governing bodies really taking the legacy of London 2012 seriously,” commented 400m word champion Ohuruogu who grew up just a few miles from the new facility.

“It’s crazy to think that Hackney did not have its own athletics track until now and the compact facility is a really good solution in a busy area with a lot of young stars waiting to be uncovered.”

The Hackney facility forms part of England Athletics’ aim to increase participation in the sport across the country over the next four years, with £100,000 in funding coming from the governing body together with £116,000 from Sport England and £150,000 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Sport England’s regional strategic lead for London, Hannah Bladen, also revealed how plans for further compact athletics facilities are in motion in an attempt to increase access to athletics in cities and rural areas across the country.

“We are looking forward to working with England Athletics and UKA to develop more compact athletics facilities both in London and across the rest of the country,” she said. “They provide an excellent environment for young people and adults to get into the sports of athletics and running, enabling them to develop their skills and interest either through recreational participation or by training to compete and hopefully developing lifelong participation habits.”

UKA assisted in the planning aspect of the facility, with chief executive Niels de Vos commenting: “UKA has been happy to lend its support to such a worthwhile initiative, helping to ensure that the Christine Ohuruogus of tomorrow are uncovered and nurtured at high quality facilities like this one.

“I look forward to seeing more Compact Athletics Facilities across the UK thrive, as I’m certain Hackney’s first ever athletics track will.”

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