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Olympic champion honoured at new athletics headquarters

Melbourne’s newest sporting precinct – Lakeside Stadium – tonight celebrated the opening of the last major piece of the redevelopment project, Athletics House.

At a function before the staging of the Zatopek:10, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty officially opened the new building, which brings together the administration headquarters for Athletics Victoria, Athletics Australia, Little Athletics Victoria and Little Athletics Australia in one location.

Mr Delahunty also announced the function room at the new building would be named in honour of World and Olympic champion sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

“This new building, combined with the fantastic competition and training facilities at the Victorian Institute of Sport, completes the picture for a new era for athletics, and indeed elite sport here in Victoria,” Mr Delahunty said.

“In its first year of operation, Lakeside Stadium has added another venue option to attract events – big and small – while also providing excellent training facilities for communities and future champions.

“The addition of Athletics House is the missing piece of this new home of track and field, right here in Albert Park and it’s only fitting that Cathy Freeman’s name is a feature of this terrific new building,” Mr Delahunty said.

The opening of Athletics House marks the completion of works at Lakeside Stadium. The Victorian Coalition Government invested $67 million in the project, with the new home of the Victorian Institute of Sport and the track and field facilities opening in December 2011.

Following the official opening, guests attended the Zatopek:10 – Australia’s greatest 10 kilometre race.

Mr Delahunty said the Zatopek was an important event which promoted and showcased the best of the best in distance running.

“Which is why tonight, I’m delighted to announce the Coalition Government has provided $20,000 from the Significant Sporting Events Program to support Zatopek 2012,” Mr Delahunty said.

“This funding is about helping to continue this great event, and supporting its prosperity into the future.”