Work is well and truly underway at Laucala Bay, Suva where a renovated Stadium is currently being built. ANZ Stadium (formerly the National Stadium) has been the home to a number of international events, including the first Oceania Area Track and Field Championships in 1990 and with the upgrades now underway Fiji looks set to become a major hub for Athletics in the Pacific. The Stadium, last upgraded for the 2003 Pacific Games has been in need of attention for a number of years, but this upgrade far exceeds all expectations. The ANZ Stadium has had not only the track upgraded, but the entire facility, including the Grandstand.
The Coke Games and Chow Games are regarded as amongst the largest Secondary and Primary School events to be held in the Pacific and the Stadium has been their home over the years. Last year’s Chow Games needed to be conducted as Regional Events to enable work to start on the Stadium, however they will be looking to come ‘home’ in 2013.
The Fiji Times reported today that the slow supply of cement is expected to affect the completion of the ANZ Stadium, however Fiji Sports Council chairman Peter Mazey said more than 50 per cent of work was completed and their March 31 completion deadline was on track.
"We are on track for a March 31 completion however if the problems with supply of cement are not overcome we will be behind schedule especially for the light towers and the embankment seating which is all concrete," Mazey said.
The $15million project which started this year after the Fiji secondary Schools athletics finals in April, has incurred an extra $2.5m because of unexpected logistic costs.
Mazey said they had successfully planted the imported grass and laid the foundation of the running track. He said the new roof trusses was in place and the majority of the new structure at the rear of the stadium had been completed.
"The main ground is complete, the drainage and irrigation working well, and the special imported grass growing as expected," Mazey said. "The first part of the running track has been laid and when this has fully cured the special rubberised surface will be laid in January.
"The lights are all here, the towers are currently on board ships from China and the base foundations ready for cement.
Oceania Athletics Association, Executive Director, Yvonne Mullins was excited about the prospect of the new Stadium in Suva, “I have had the opportunity to travel and work at the Stadium since 2002 and I have seen the track deteriorate over the last few years, the new Stadium is a great initiative by the Fiji Government and Fiji Sports Council and they should be congratulated. The new Stadium will create huge opportunities for local athletes in Fiji and for the Oceania Region as a whole. Fiji is the most central of our Oceania Member Federations and we are always looking for venues to host our Oceania Events. The OAA Council will now be able to consider Fiji as a Competition Venue for future Championships.”