Belfast's Mary Peters Track set for major upgrade

The Mary Peters Track
The Mary Peters Track in south Belfast currently only a six-lane track

Belfast's Mary Peters Track could be set for a major upgrade which would see it increasing from six lanes to eight in line with full IAAF international athletics standards.

This follows Belfast City Council's indication that it would be prepared to provide funding for the redevelopment.

The upgrade, which may include the building of a grandstand, could require funding of up to £3m.

The plan is to have the upgrade ready for the 2013 World Police Games.

Belfast will host the global police and fire games which is expected to attract around 10,000 competitors and 30,000 visitors to the city during the 10-day event.

The south Belfast venue was opened in 1975 after three years of fund-raising led by 1972 Olympic gold medallist Mary Peters.

Dame Mary has already expressed her "delight" at the news of the planned track upgrade.

Greats such as Steve Ovett, Ed Moses, Eamonn Coghlan, Linford Christie, Fatima Whitbread and Zola Budd competed at the Belfast venue during its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.

However, a lack of sponsorship and funding saw a drop-off in major meetings being staged in Belfast from the early 1990s.

The upgrade of Antrim Forum to eight-lane international standard saw the Northern Ireland Championships moving away from the Belfast venue in recent years.

If all goes to plan with the tendering process, work at the venue could begin next April with work expected to land around four or five months.

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