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27 Sep 2013

World’s first ‘compact athletics facility’ launched in London
BY Tom Walker

The world’s first ever Compact Athletics Facility (CAF), designed to allow track and field facilities to be built in places where there is limited space, has opened in Hackney, north east London.

A joint initiative by England Athletics and Sport England, the £370,000 facility at Stoke Newington School includes a sprint straight, a long jump straight and pit, a high jump area, a throws area and a running trail around the school.

Funded by Sport England, England Athletics and the London Marathon Trust, the venue has been designed to give both school children and the local community more opportunities to take part in athletics.

The CAFs form a key part of England Athletics’ aim to get more people into the sport over the next four years across the country.

The concept has been designed with community engagement in mind and is part of their successful Run! Project, which has been linked to significant number of people taking part in the capital prior to and since the 2012 London Games.

There are plans to set up further CAFs to help increase access to athletics in cities and rural areas up and down the country.

Sport England strategic lead, Hannah Bladen, said: “We are looking forward to working with England Athletics and UKA to develop more CAFs across the country.

“They provide an excellent place for young people and adults to get into the sport of athletics, enabling them to develop their skills and interest either for fun or for competition. It is great to see this pilot project come to fruition and I look forward to seeing many more.”

The facility was opened by 400m world champion and double Olympic medallist Christine Ohuruogu, who grew up in the area.

“It’s great to see our sport’s governing bodies really taking the legacy of London 2012 seriously and getting creative with ways to get athletics into the inner-city. 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.”

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