Since it won the bid to host the Games, London 2012 has worked closely with partners and stakeholders on programmes to promote sports participation in the run-up to, during and after the Games and there has been much talk in the media of the “Olympic Legacy “.
Yet in Nottinghamshire Mansfield Harriers & Athletics Club is forced out of their training facilities at Berry Hill Park by its trustees. The club – which has been training at the site for over half a century – now fears for its future with nowhere to train from November 1.
Berry Hill Park Trust (BHPT) have stated that the reason for the eviction of the club lies in a dispute between members of the club and the local football team (Woodhouse Colts FC) which has now been given the Harriers’ Thursday night training slot. However it is clear that a financial row between BHPT and Mansfield Harriers has been going on for several years now.
In June 2012 the Park’s trustees raised the standard usage rates for facilities such as floodlighting from a reduced monthly fee to single fees for every usage, increasing the costs by 100 per cent compared to the previous price.
110m Hurdles European and Commonwealth Champion Andy Turner holds the topic close to his heart: “This is something that I feel quite strongly about. I grew up in Nottingham, but regularly competed at Mansfield and even trained there sometimes, too.
“I just think especially after the Olympics we should be helping local tracks and all the young athletes that use them rather than hinder or even stop them entirely.”
One of the track alternatives for the Harriers would be the Harvey Hadden Stadium in Nottingham, but the prospect of travelling leaves Harriers chairman Paul Gair worrying: “Part of the club will fold. It will add to travelling, I think a lot of people will drop out of the sport. Mansfield will have no athletics club.”
Considering the idea of Olympic Legacy was to “make the UK a world-leading sporting nation” and to “inspire a generation of young people to take part in local volunteering, cultural, and physical activity”, the chance of a British League athletics club with over 300 members closing down, because of financial struggles, surely is not what Lord Coe had in mind when he won the bid for London 2012.
Feel strongly about the topic? You can support Mansfield Harriers by signing a petition here.