Brisbane, AustraliaIAAF President Lamine Diack today officially opened the IAAF’s Oceania Regional Development Centre (RDC) in Brisbane.
Speaking in an appropriate location, the Track and Field Room under the grandstand at the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre, President Diack spoke highly of the work of the RDC, which has been based in Brisbane since switching from Adelaide in March last year.
"Athletics is for everyone, black or white, rich or poor; so it is wonderful that the 19 member federations of the Oceania region can have access to such a wonderful facility."
Those words would have resonated with his audience, which included the Queensland Government Minister for Sport, Andrew Fraser, Athletics Australia President Rob Fildes and Des Power, the head of Queensland Events Corporation.
Indeed Mr Diack would have been impressed by the depth of knowledge of Mr Fraser, who rattled off the names of the other eight cities with IAAF Regional Development Centres - Beijing, Cairo, Dakar, Jakarta, Moscow, Nairobi, San Juan and Santa Fe - all without notes. He also spoke of the policy of his Premier, Peter Beattie, in supporting athletics, and sport in general, as a means of fighting Australia's growing problem of obesity.
The Brisbane RDC is located in an office at QSAC, paid for by Queensland Events for the next three years. Its function is to act as a branch office for the IAAF and what could be a better location? Purpose-built as an athletics facility for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the venue boasts two floodlit international standard tracks, one a 10 lane Mondo and the other a 9 lane Rekortan track, complete with state-of-the-art gymnasium and biomechanics laboratory.
Athletes from Fiji and Papua New Guinea have been training at QSAC under respected Brisbane coach, Lloyd Way and living at Robertson Gardens, a self-contained villa complex within walking distance. Evidence of their success came only last weekend at the Australian Under 20 titles in Hobart when Toea Wisil, a talented 19 year old from PNG, won the sprint treble.
The Oceania Area representative on the IAAF Council, Mr Bill Bailey, introduced the President of Athletics Samoa, Lalau Willie Fong and talented PNG athlete, Mai Koime, to thank President Diack for opening the RDC. In expressing their thanks they noted that Coaches, officials and athletes in Oceania would all benefit greatly from the establishment of the IAAF Regional Development Centre in Brisbane and thanked the President of the IAAF for his support.
Australia's leading International Technical Official, Reg Brandis, the Director of the RDC, was presented with a plaque by President Diack, commemorating today's launch.
The President was taken on a brief tour of the venue and stated that he was impressed with the facilities already available for Athletics.
Peter Meares for the IAAF