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Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 10:16 UK

Gloucester athletics track closes

Athletics

Gloucester's Black Bridge athletics track is to close after being damaged by floods last summer.

The City Council is asking the clubs who use the city's only track - Severn and Gloucester - to return their keys.

Severn co-ordinator Terry Haines told BBC Radio Gloucestershire that local athletes will be left with few options.

"Athletes can train on roads or on grass, but where people will go to throw discus, hammer, javelin or shot I don't know," he said.

"If Lorraine Shaw was still competing, she would only be able to train by going elsewhere. The next local facility is in Cheltenham, and already 15 athletes have left to join them."

It could be the end of athletics of any standard in the city of Gloucester

Terry Haines, Severn Athletic Club

The athletics season starts in less than a month's time and although the search is on for a solution, Haines feels it is youngsters who cannot travel to existing venues who will suffer most.

"It could be the end of athletics of any standard in the city of Gloucester. There isn't a lull in the sport, athletes are produced after five or six years of hard work.

"You don't stop and then start again months or years later. To do that is a nonsense."

The closure of the Black Bridge track in Podsmead is due to it failing the annual inspection from UK Athletics.



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