Saturday 25 January 2020

Mullins issues apology over how closure of Belfield track was handled

Cliona Foley

UCD has apologised for the way it handled the shock closure of its historic Belfield track last week and has put together a task-force to deliver a replacement as quickly as possible.

Athletes were confused and furious when diggers suddenly moved in last week, with no forewarning whatsoever given to the many clubs, schools and athletes, including several Olympians, who used the facility.

"We had a report that indicated we were taking a (safety) chance every day we left it open, but we did not communicate this very well to our students and other athletics people and I apologise openly for that," said UCD's director of sport Brian Mullins.

One of the most vehement critics of the sudden closure was Senator Eamonn Coghlan and he is among those whom UCD have now enlisted to serve on a task-force to fast-track a replacement facility on the other side of the Belfield campus.


Mullins admitted that the track was allowed to go into disrepair because the campus layout has changed dramatically in recent years and all of the university's newer sports facilities have deliberately been grouped at the Clonskeagh end of the extensive grounds.

"Apart from a few remaining soccer pitches the track was the last remaining outpost and it was decided not to invest in repairing hard-earned money into something that was going to be shifted in due course," he said.

UCD has had planning permission for a track near its sports centre at Clonskeagh since 2009, but those plans were then hit by the recession.

Mullins said: "We're quite positive now that we will get commitment for the funding soon and will move to deliver a replacement track as quickly as possible."

McMahon Texaco Young Sportstar of the Year

World Championship breaststroke semi-finalist Sycerika McMahon has been chosen as the winner of the 2011 Texaco Young Sportstar of the Year award.

Although there was no reward for her in the form of medals, the World Championships in Shanghai this year proved an inspiration for the 16-year-old Leander girl.

Alongside the eight senior sports stars chosen to receive Texaco Sportstars Awards and the 2011 Hall of Fame winner, McMahon will be presented with her trophy at the awards ceremony, which takes place in Dublin next week.

Irish Independent

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