We have been informed by UK Athletics, that following a recent TrackMark inspection the throwing cage is unsafe and can no longer be used for meetings where the discus and/or hammer are included. This will also mean that discus and hammer training, using the cage, will no longer be permitted until the matter is resolved. Do not use the cage under any circumstances.
We will inform you of any changes to home meetings/open meetings that may have been taking place. The open meeting on Sunday 26th April will go ahead.
This has come as no surprise to the club who have been working extremely hard over a long period of time to try and get Medway Council to carry out repair work on the cage. The problem relates to the steel support structure and netting. The steel structure has been damaged by hammers hitting the uprights. This has happened because the wire supports, that are intended to keep the netting in front of the uprights (so that the netting acts as a curtain and takes the force of implements) have been loose or broken. The club has been informing Medway Park of this problem for over 2 years. In addition to damage to the upright supports, the impact of implements hitting the uprights has also meant the netting has been cut in many places.
The cage had a TrackMark inspection in March 2019 when a red and several amber warnings were given. This then allowed 12 months for repair, or at least a plan, to be put in place. The required actions were not affected and inevitably, as 12 months later the cage was in a worse state, the revisit inspection resulted in a failed report.
In the last 12 months we have had meetings with Medway Park and, written to our senior councilor Medway Council. Over the last few years, the club has contributed both financially and manually, just to ensure training and competition at Medway Park can continue at a good level. This is something we feel we shouldn’t have to do, but as funding and manual support has reduced progressively, we have had little option. Unfortunately, the required work on the cage is beyond our control and can only be affected by the council.
We have stressed the importance of maintaining this facility as it not only has a serious affect on the throwers, but this also affects the whole team and club. The loss of home league meetings is a serious blow as is the lack of local training provision for the throwers.
Following the recent TrackMark report the council have now told us:
‘We are getting a cost and timeframe for replacement. As soon as we have that we will be able to give you more information. We are also arranging for the cage to be taken down while we await the replacement.’
Further to the above, we have spoken with Ed Hunt (England Athletic Facility and Planning Manager) who will help us all he can, although they have no funding source. Whilst this sounds promising, we must be realistic. Hopefully the council can find funding for this work. However, in relation to timescales you should be aware that this is unlikely to happen quickly.