Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Funding injection for Hamilton sports parks

Hamilton sporting venues are set to receive a boost with better facilities for female athletes thanks to $1.15 million in central government funding.

The investment is a portion of $19 million announced by the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Grant Robertson.

It will support infrastructure and gender-neutral upgrades to match and training venues across New Zealand for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the largest women’s sporting event on the planet.

Hamilton City Council says these are essential upgrades to ensure the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can be hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the Play-Off Tournament taking place in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Auckland Taamaki Makaurau in February.

Hamilton’s funding will be split between Waikato Stadium, Porritt Park, Gower Park and Korikori Park.

Acting General Manager – Community, Rebecca Whithead said that the investment will be a game changer for supporting communities and groups that use the venues on a daily basis.

“Having these facilities available for our regular users will encourage more people to take part in community sport. Not just that, but this combined with the venue infrastructure upgrades puts Hamilton Kirikiriroa in a stronger position when we bid to host international events in the future.”

$600,000 will go towards ensuring the training venues will have the infrastructure required to host an event of this magnitude, while the remaining $550,000 will come from Sport New Zealand and has been committed to Waikato Stadium and Porritt Park to meet Sport New Zealand’s gender-neutral requirements.

These upgrades will – among other things – help upgrade our existing facilities to work for all of our athletes regardless of gender. This includes having individual showers, privacy screens, cubicle toilets, baby change tables, accessible bathrooms and gender-neutral changing rooms for both players and officials.

CEO of Waikato Bay of Plenty Football, Karyn Walters says the impact of this funding on encouraging women into football in the Waikato region will be huge, particularly with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 descending on Aotearoa New Zealand next year.

“Traditionally, changing rooms across our sporting venues have been geared towards males, but it’s important that all athletes feel comfortable in the changing facilities regardless of their gender. These upgrades to changing rooms will help remove those barriers,” she said.

“Waikato Bay of Plenty Football has a target of getting more than 4,000 of our young women playing football by 2024. This funding will make sure our facilities and stadiums enable and empower everyone who wants to play a sport to get involved.”

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