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On course for all-weather athletics track

A PLAN to construct a new all-weather athletics track in Maidstone are not in doubt despite the merger between Maidstone & Rochester AC and Medway AC last month. That's the message from the newly-formed Medway and Maidstone AC, who are completely behind the scheme and believe it is crucial for the future of the sport in Kent.

Oldborough Manor School was confirmed as the venue for the synthetic surface six-lane track earlier this year but with Medway AC being based at Deansgate some doubts had been raised about whether another track was required.

However, Medway and Maidstone AC Publicity Secretary Alan Newman says the new facility is still needed for training purposes.

He said: "Deansgate will remain our base but the new facility, which should be ready in three years, at Oldborough Manor School gives the athletes a great opportunity to train."

Maidstone council, UK Athletics, the Kent County Athletics Association as well as the school authorities are firmly behind the scheme and gave planning permission over six months ago. Since then, Medway and Maidstone AC have been in talks with a number of organisations including Sport England, in a bid to raise funds to pay for the track.

Medway and Maidstone AC Chairman Bob Chance admits it won't be easy raising the amount of money needed but is confident the track will be ready by 2004. He said: "The cost of building the track is about £700,000 and we need to raise approximately half of that with the rest hopefully coming from lottery funding. We have had a number of fruitful discussions with Sport England concerning that and they want to help us out."

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