clinic serif;”>A special task force has been set up by the UCD that aims to expedite the search for funding for the development of a new running track on campus. The previous track was closed, without any prior notice, in November by the university.
UCD is currently providing transport to training facilities in Irishtown, Ringsend. Richard Owens of the UCD Athletics Club (UCDAC) told the College Tribune that although “everybody in the club is trying to move on and focus on working towards a new track,” training off campus is an inconvenience and adds more pressure on students. “Rather walk two minutes from your college building you have to go thirty minutes across the city in rush hour traffic to train,” he explained.
It is understood the old track could have been repaired for under €10,000. The task force, that includes representatives from the University, the Students’ Union, the Athletics Club and other athletics organisations, hopes to secure the €2.4 million funding to develop a new track in the Richview end of the campus. A university spokesperson explained, “several years ago, as part of the overall master plan for the campus, a suitable site was identified for a new running track in the UCD Sports Precinct. Full planning permission was granted in 2009, and the site is ready to be developed once funding is secured.”
Many prominent Irish and international athletes expressed their sadness at the sudden closure of the track. In emails seen by the College Tribune one such athlete wrote to the university, “Our founder of the University [Dr. John Henry Newman] once said… ‘I see a flourishing University, which for a time had to struggle with fortune, but which, when its first founders and servants were dead and gone, has successes far exceeding their anxieties.’ Gentlemen, I see nothing flourishing in our once thriving Athletics scene. True vision in sport has to encompass more that what you can see from your office chair.”
Some of the emails criticized UCD Sports Vice-President Brian Mullins but Richard Owens, UCDAC, made a distinction between UCD Sport and the university when he spoke to the College Tribune. “The sports office has been great to us since day one, they have done all what they can, they must be given credit for that. The higher university, it’s like anything else, they don’t necessarily understand the club, they don’t necessarily understand the students,” he said.