Hi everyone - here's our original release that was sent out this week - including a few much over-looked thank yous here that we wanted to include.
Reflecting on the New Zealand track cycling team’s outstanding performance at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games over the past 11 days, dominating the medal haul, the deep south should take its due share of credit in being an instrumental factor in the growth and rapid rise of cycling success in recent years.
Instrumental in the initial eight years of project feasibility, planning and track design before the velodrome even opened, former Cycling Southland president Steve Canny said it had been documented in 1997 Cycling Southland’s Strategic Plan that Southland would play a key role in New Zealand being a top cycling nation. The many years of ground work, drive and vision is now certainly paying dividends.
“The key thing is champions are built over time it can take 10 years of intensive training and competition to deliver success, as has been the case with British Cycling. The SIT Zero Fees Velodrome formerly known as the ILT Velodrome has seen Invercargill recognised throughout the cycling world and has allowed national and local cyclists to compete in a world-class facility for more than eight years now, and has been instrumental in catapulting New Zealand Cycling into international cycling success and this will continue into the future”.
“The south has been paramount in attracting top quality competition, from both Commonwealth and world champions, overseas riders and ongoing major track events such as the Oceania Track Championships held every four years and a national Track Championship event assured every year. Coupled with the incredible band of local level volunteers, including event helpers, coaches and avid club supporters we can continue to deliver and build on what has already been achieved. It is a local vision that hasn’t changed for many, many years,” Mr Canny said.
A little more than eight years ago, a determined team of Cycling Southland believers, backed by the generous local community funders – the Invercargill Licensing Trust and Community Trust of Southland saw their dream to open the country’s first indoor Velodrome become a reality. It has been an incredible journey ever since with accolades such as having the fastest track at sea level, receiving acknowledgement from U.C.I. for hosting the best-ever Junior Worlds Track Championships in 2012 and numerous, on-going record-breaking achievements. For example, five world records at Junior Worlds and the first ever sub-10 second flying 200 set in New Zealand by Eddie Dawkins in November last year.
With five Southlanders representing New Zealand in the 15-strong track cycling team, all but one was able to come away with a medal in Glasgow. The south’s Eddie Dawkins (gold team sprint), Tom Scully (gold points race), Matt Archibald (bronze 1000 time trial) and Pieter Bulling (bronze team pursuit) return home triumphant after years of hard graft on the Southland boards which has paid off. Meanwhile, for 21-year-old Stephanie McKenzie, who is a junior in terms of her world class
sprint peers, a fourth and sixth placing, and another result that out-classed world track queen Australian Anna Meares in one heat, were certainly stand-out achievements that boast of many exciting results to come.
The Kiwi track team’s 11-strong track medal count can take a lot of credit from the foresight of the Southland Velodrome Project Committee, chaired by Ray Harper, and comprising of Cycling Southland administrators, Stadium Southland management and other prominent community identities. The SIT Zero Fees Velodrome was the home of the BikeNZ track cycling sprint and endurance athletes for eight years, with the elite cyclists only relocating to the new Cambridge Avantidrome at the end of last year.
Tom Scully also recognises the value of the Velodrome and the community, and their impact on track cycling.
“The Invercargill Velodrome and the Southland community have been vital for not only my development, but the whole current era of track cycling in New Zealand. I believe New Zealand track cycling would not be where it is today without the world-class Invercargill Velodrome and strong community support. They have made striving for the top of the podium in Glasgow a realistic goal. The continued support, plus years of hard work, has been the recipe for a high performance environment which delivers success”.
Cycling Southland president Lindsay Jordan said those years based in the south were paramount in the current success of New Zealand track cycling results.
“It’s a gratifying realisation to know Cycling Southland has played such a big part in our Kiwi team’s success on the world stage. The continued growth of school and community group use during the day has continued to grow remarkably over the past year, when around 5000 school children have used the facility, ensuring that the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome will continue to produce cycling stars of the future.”