Windies bump kid triathletes

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

A huge Central Otago primary school triathlon’s been bumped from Queenstown Events Centre to accommodate the Windies cricket side.

The council-owned centre was booked by triathlon organisers about 14 months ago, but they got the squeeze after the Windies’ visit was confirmed a fortnight ago.

West Indies players and management arrived last Friday and have been training at the ground ahead of two warm-up games there against New Zealand A, which started today.

‘‘It’s just unfortunate we get the boot in that situation,’’ Remarkables Primary sports coordinator Alex Moore says.

‘‘I think it’s good to have international sport, but it’s a bit frustrating they bumped the kids.’’

Moore understands Queenstown’s council tried to make changes to the triathlon course to accommodate them but they were vetoed on safety grounds.

Instead, the event was staged on Wednesday in Cromwell, attracting 300-plus tyro triathletes.

‘‘It put a bit of stress on us because we were anticipating the [150-plus] kids from Queenstown just being able to go straight there.

‘‘We’ve had to rush to organise drivers and car pooling, but our parents stepped up and they were awesome.’’

Moore says Queenstown’s economy also missed out.

‘‘When you’ve got parents coming buying coffee and food, it takes a hit on a few places that would like to have that bit of business.’’

Council sport and recreation manager Simon Battrick says they did offer the school principals’ group the Events Centre oval instead.

‘‘But they just didn’t feel 100% comfortable with changing the course, at that late stage.’’

Battrick says it wasn’t a case of favouring a commercial user over a local/public one, but in its pecking order, international sport, because of its ‘‘wider, bigger benefit’’, takes priority, followed by national, regional, then local sport.

He says 99% of the time they’re able to accommodate local sport.

With the shift to Cromwell, council had paid for the use of that pool which would have been free at the Events Centre.

scoop@scene.co.nz