Cwmbran Stadium banned from hosting athletics events

Cwmbran Stadium banned from hosting athletics events

Cwmbran Stadium banned from hosting athletics events

First published in Gwent news
Last updated

IT USED to be “the envy of the UK” and attracted world famous names but now the athletics track at Cwmbran Stadium is banned from hosting competitions.

Newport’s European silver medallist and Team GB member Christian Malcolm described the news as “a big shame” after UK Athletics (UKA) decided to withdraw the competition licence for the track from the council.

The track fell below required safety levels after an inspection.

Mr Malcolm, who still trains on the track, said: “I have lots of great memories of athletics at the track. The Welsh Games used to be held there and I remember the likes of Linford Christie being there.

“To me, it was the best stadium in South Wales. It is a big shame.”

Torfaen council has said it will investigate costs of the required repair work and various funding routes for the track, which is also currently used around three times a week by Cwmbran Harriers, which has 140 members.

The track will still be allowed to be used for training.

Facilities and health and safety manager atUKAthletics Michael Hunt said: “UKA has an obligation to make sure track and field facilities reach a level that’s safe.

“Unfortunately at Cwmbran, the track surface has fallen below that level. It hasn’t come up to the required standard.”

Mr Hunt said UKA would also be providing assistance to try to help rectify the situation.

Chairman of Cwmbran Harriers Iain Jones said the track “used to be the envy of the UK”. He said: “It is a shame. But I am looking forward to working with the council to get the competition licence back.” Deputy leader of Torfaen council Cllr Lewis Jones said he was “disappointed” the UKA certificate had been withdrawn but pleased the track still meets training requirements.

He said:”We have liaised with the club and we will agree on a number of risk assessments that will allow training nights to carry on with minimal disruption.

We will investigate costs of the required repair work and various funding routes to make this possible. As the certificate has been withdrawn, UKA have confirmed that it will be reinstated if we are able to fund the required work.”

The Argus reported in 2008 how the stadium’s grandstand had to be closed after the council officers revealed they could not afford the £110,000 repair bill.

Stadium has hosted athletic stars

THE 10,500-capacity stadium has played host to some of British and World athletics’ biggest names.

In 1973, the track hosted a British League meet, where Olympic long-jump champion Lynn “the Leap” Davies competed for the final time before his retirement.

Britain’s greatest ever longjumper was competing in the colours of Cardiff AAC, for whom he ran the last leg of the sprint relay, sealing Cardiff’s win and eventually the British League Title. That was followed in 1980 when hit BBC TV show Superstars used the stadium as the venue for that year’s competition with judo gym-tests sensation Brian Jacks defeating Olympic decathlete Daley Thompson among others.

Four years later, legendary South African-born middle distance runner Zola Budd famously took to the track barefoot.

In front of a packed crowd, the then 18-year-old dominated the field to win the British 1500 metre title in 4 minutes and 4 seconds. In more recent years the stadium has played host to both the Welsh and UK athletics championships with athletes including Linford Christie, Colin Jackson, as well as Gwent Olympic sprinters Jamie Baulch and Christian Malcolm.

COMMENT: Sorry state at stadium

IT’S a crying shame that a venue which was once a real jewel in the crown, not just of Gwent, but also of Wales, has been allowed to fall into such a sorry state of disrepair.

The decision by UK Athletics to withdraw Cwmbran Stadium’s licence to host competitions is a devastating blow and should be seen as nothing short of an embarrassment.

The track is no longer deemed fit for purpose to host competitions. And an inspection this week has seen the licence withdrawn.

But this is not a deterioration which has happened overnight. As long ago as December 2011 it was reported that athletes and coaches were increasingly concerned about the state of the track, which once played host to some of the biggest names in British athletics.

The stadium was for many years seen as a first-class athletics venue. Nowvisitors would find it a shadowof its former self. The concrete cancer which led to the grandstand being condemned was bad enough. Nowthe final insult is the loss of the competition licence.

Training can continue at the site which is at least some comfort for the well-attended and hugely competitive Cwmbran Harriers.

Torfaen council says it is looking at what can be done, but given that it is in the throes of handing over all of its leisure services, including Cwmbran Stadium, to a trust we can’t see this being resolved any time soon.

Comments (16)

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12:15pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Gareth says...

To win gold medals you need to pay for it. Pay for athletes, pay for training, pay for facilities and the rest of it. It's not difficult to work out. UK Sport knew this and pumped millions into our elite athletes. The result was a wealth of golds in London 2012.

Then they talk about a lasting legacy. Excellent. We have an enthused youth. All they need is finance for equipment and facilities.

Umm... Schools are losing facilities, there's no ring-fencing of additional hours/funds for sport in school, there's no proactive attempt to keep amazing facilities in Cwmbran in condition.

Anyone can talk about a legacy, but to assume this is all about ambition alone is naive and condescending... and we are all losing out.
To win gold medals you need to pay for it. Pay for athletes, pay for training, pay for facilities and the rest of it. It's not difficult to work out. UK Sport knew this and pumped millions into our elite athletes. The result was a wealth of golds in London 2012. Then they talk about a lasting legacy. Excellent. We have an enthused youth. All they need is finance for equipment and facilities. Umm... Schools are losing facilities, there's no ring-fencing of additional hours/funds for sport in school, there's no proactive attempt to keep amazing facilities in Cwmbran in condition. Anyone can talk about a legacy, but to assume this is all about ambition alone is naive and condescending... and we are all losing out. Gareth
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Aquarius says...

Amusing that in cases like these, it's never the selfless public servant Bob Wellington, the actual LEADER of the council, who makes a comment.

Too busy with all his various other well-paid jobs (for the boys), presumably.
Amusing that in cases like these, it's never the selfless public servant Bob Wellington, the actual LEADER of the council, who makes a comment. Too busy with all his various other well-paid jobs (for the boys), presumably. Aquarius
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Llanmartinangel says...

Maybe if all the athletes spoke Welsh, WAG would find another few hundred grand down the back of the bottomless sofa.
Maybe if all the athletes spoke Welsh, WAG would find another few hundred grand down the back of the bottomless sofa. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 0

3:56pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Cwmsteve says...

Its scandalous that its allowed to get it this state! it wasn't to long ago that the whole stadium and track was refurbished. No cafe, no track, no future!!!! Someone has to be held accountable, though I doubt if anyone will! The Olympic legacy appears to have missed in this part of Wales!!
Its scandalous that its allowed to get it this state! it wasn't to long ago that the whole stadium and track was refurbished. No cafe, no track, no future!!!! Someone has to be held accountable, though I doubt if anyone will! The Olympic legacy appears to have missed in this part of Wales!! Cwmsteve
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Fri 8 Feb 13

mer8071 says...

Cwmbran council seems to be more interested in supermarkets. How many have you got within a 4 mile radius?
Cwmbran council seems to be more interested in supermarkets. How many have you got within a 4 mile radius? mer8071
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Fri 8 Feb 13

spice15 says...

What a shame it has come to this. Why has it been neglected so badly over the years. Our schools and now our sports stadium pretty much says it all, I just wonder where does all our taxes go. Roads and pathways have botch patch- up work done as repairs, work has also been dramtically cut down on the grass cutting and general gardening has drastically declined over the years. Street cleansing is an issue do you want me to go on. Apart from the portion of taxes for the police I would be interested to see the budgets as to where the rest of the money was spent over the years.

It is a disapointment that it has come to this, especially after the Olympics 2012 when so much interest has been shown by the younger generation towards the various sporting events.

Torfaen Council have come up trumps again - A sports stadium with no
sports!! Woohoo
What a shame it has come to this. Why has it been neglected so badly over the years. Our schools and now our sports stadium pretty much says it all, I just wonder where does all our taxes go. Roads and pathways have botch patch- up work done as repairs, work has also been dramtically cut down on the grass cutting and general gardening has drastically declined over the years. Street cleansing is an issue do you want me to go on. Apart from the portion of taxes for the police I would be interested to see the budgets as to where the rest of the money was spent over the years. It is a disapointment that it has come to this, especially after the Olympics 2012 when so much interest has been shown by the younger generation towards the various sporting events. Torfaen Council have come up trumps again - A sports stadium with no sports!! Woohoo spice15
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Fri 8 Feb 13

cpurcell says...

This is an absolute disgrace. TCBC you should be ashamed of yourslef. Cwmbran Stadium is nothing but a white elephant now. No stand (closed about 5 years ago), no cafe (closed last year), now no athletics. All at a time when we are trying to encourage people to stay healthy.
This is an absolute disgrace. TCBC you should be ashamed of yourslef. Cwmbran Stadium is nothing but a white elephant now. No stand (closed about 5 years ago), no cafe (closed last year), now no athletics. All at a time when we are trying to encourage people to stay healthy. cpurcell
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Ian MacKinlay says...

"Torfaen council says it is looking at what can be done, but given that it is in the throes of handing over all of its leisure services, including Cwmbran Stadium, to a trust we can’t see this being resolved any time soon."

Useless worthless people.
"Torfaen council says it is looking at what can be done, but given that it is in the throes of handing over all of its leisure services, including Cwmbran Stadium, to a trust we can’t see this being resolved any time soon." Useless worthless people. Ian MacKinlay
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Floppy backed says...

Llanmartinangel wrote:
Maybe if all the athletes spoke Welsh, WAG would find another few hundred grand down the back of the bottomless sofa.
absolutely!!!
[quote][p][bold]Llanmartinangel[/bold] wrote: Maybe if all the athletes spoke Welsh, WAG would find another few hundred grand down the back of the bottomless sofa.[/p][/quote]absolutely!!! Floppy backed
  • Score: 0

7:25pm Fri 8 Feb 13

33daverave says...

I would be interested to see the budgets as to where the rest of the money was spent over the years.




I think about a third of your council tax goes to the council employees pension pot.
Yes, they pay in, so do you.For them
I would be interested to see the budgets as to where the rest of the money was spent over the years. I think about a third of your council tax goes to the council employees pension pot. Yes, they pay in, so do you.For them 33daverave
  • Score: 0

8:30pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Lordbettws says...

How the mighty have fallen, not so long ago our Council officials and local do gooder's were standing up and pruning their feathers about the successful stadium track and facility's we have in Cwmbran.
Now we see the end result of cuts and budget deficits, yet no one is prepared to take responsibility for the failure of repairs, only to wallow in the glory's when they arrive?
How the mighty have fallen, not so long ago our Council officials and local do gooder's were standing up and pruning their feathers about the successful stadium track and facility's we have in Cwmbran. Now we see the end result of cuts and budget deficits, yet no one is prepared to take responsibility for the failure of repairs, only to wallow in the glory's when they arrive? Lordbettws
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Rjumpscoach says...

Ok..lets set one or two things straight. The only champion in the cause of the future of the Cwmbran Stadium and its' facilities over the last decade has been a Level3 Sprints and BWLA accredited coach, namely Mr. Jeff Harwood. When the caffeteria was threatened with closure it was Jeff who raised a petition, signed by hundreds, to keep it open. It closed.In 2011 it was Jeff who voiced concerns,via the press, over the state of the track, which having been relaid twice "cheaply" was showing signs of breaking up. No one listened.
All along it has been this individual who has campaigned tirelessly for the interests of potential athletes and their parents to keep the Stadium in a reasonable, fit for purpose state by communication with the relative, responsible TCBC and Welsh Athletics officials all to no avail. Just last week we were discussing the fact that on Tuesday, the Liesure 'Trust?' would be finalised, on Wednesday, this week, the competition and training licence would be revoked/suspended and then on Thursday the Council would say.......? Ah, you've guessed...read the Argus and you will see!!!
Bulldozers and a housing estate you say ....how dare you!! Perhaps there's a little more to come from the Sportlot grant in 2002 of several mismanaged millions of poundsrefurbish the Stadium. It would be gratifying, no matter what the outcome, to see a few people held to account and get what they truly deserve!!
Ok..lets set one or two things straight. The only champion in the cause of the future of the Cwmbran Stadium and its' facilities over the last decade has been a Level3 Sprints and BWLA accredited coach, namely Mr. Jeff Harwood. When the caffeteria was threatened with closure it was Jeff who raised a petition, signed by hundreds, to keep it open. It closed.In 2011 it was Jeff who voiced concerns,via the press, over the state of the track, which having been relaid twice "cheaply" was showing signs of breaking up. No one listened. All along it has been this individual who has campaigned tirelessly for the interests of potential athletes and their parents to keep the Stadium in a reasonable, fit for purpose state by communication with the relative, responsible TCBC and Welsh Athletics officials all to no avail. Just last week we were discussing the fact that on Tuesday, the Liesure 'Trust?' would be finalised, on Wednesday, this week, the competition and training licence would be revoked/suspended and then on Thursday the Council would say.......? Ah, you've guessed...read the Argus and you will see!!! Bulldozers and a housing estate you say ....how dare you!! Perhaps there's a little more to come from the Sportlot grant in 2002 of several mismanaged millions of poundsrefurbish the Stadium. It would be gratifying, no matter what the outcome, to see a few people held to account and get what they truly deserve!! Rjumpscoach
  • Score: 0

11:38am Sat 9 Feb 13

welshmen says...

Perhaps Lord Coe could donate some of his £85 Million from the sale of his Company he sold just after the Olympics, "give a bit back" come's to mind, if not i hope the stadium survives....
Perhaps Lord Coe could donate some of his £85 Million from the sale of his Company he sold just after the Olympics, "give a bit back" come's to mind, if not i hope the stadium survives.... welshmen
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Gmail89 says...

I wouldn't exactly call Jeff Harwood a 'champion for the cause of the future'....Week after week I hear him moaning about everything under the sun and talking the ear off anyone who will listen...And last week he was standing in reception at the Stadium rubbing his hands with glee because there was an inspection Wednesday and there would be a revocation of the licence - Yes definitely a champion for the future looking out for the interests of those who use the track....
I wouldn't exactly call Jeff Harwood a 'champion for the cause of the future'....Week after week I hear him moaning about everything under the sun and talking the ear off anyone who will listen...And last week he was standing in reception at the Stadium rubbing his hands with glee because there was an inspection Wednesday and there would be a revocation of the licence - Yes definitely a champion for the future looking out for the interests of those who use the track.... Gmail89
  • Score: 0

10:22pm Sat 9 Feb 13

Rjumpscoach says...

Who else was moaning? who else was taking even the slightest interest? It's a good job he did moan because if he hadn't, none of this would have hit the press in the way it has and those responsible would have simply got away with it! At least now all are aware and it might not be too long until another one of his 'moans' bears fruit....watch this space.
Lastly, after a decade of 'moaning' in an effort to save the facilities at Cwmbran I would say that he's more than entitled to say "I told you so!" Incidentally, where
was your voice then??
Who else was moaning? who else was taking even the slightest interest? It's a good job he did moan because if he hadn't, none of this would have hit the press in the way it has and those responsible would have simply got away with it! At least now all are aware and it might not be too long until another one of his 'moans' bears fruit....watch this space. Lastly, after a decade of 'moaning' in an effort to save the facilities at Cwmbran I would say that he's more than entitled to say "I told you so!" Incidentally, where was your voice then?? Rjumpscoach
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Sun 10 Feb 13

Victory123 says...

Patching up worn out areas is simply not good enough. Cwmbran Stadium is a fantastic track to run on, way better than the rock hard Mondo tracks. It is a real shame. I can't see the track being improved unfortunately.
Patching up worn out areas is simply not good enough. Cwmbran Stadium is a fantastic track to run on, way better than the rock hard Mondo tracks. It is a real shame. I can't see the track being improved unfortunately. Victory123
  • Score: 0

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