Green Point Track remembered

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THE Green Point Track was the venue for many athletics meetings during the sports isolation years.

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It was a cinder track set against the backdrop of Signal Hill on the one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side.

The surrounding residential areas are largely white and affluent, with a public hospital on the opposite side of The Track (on the back straight).

Non-white people were removed by order of the then whites’ only government from Sea Point and Green Point as early as the 1950s.

Although the greater Green Point area was legislated as a white area pre-1994 (the year South Africa had its first democratic elections), Green Point Track was essentially intended for non-whites while Green Point Stadium (with its lovely, circular stand, tartan, catering and ablution facilities) was for “whites only”.

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South Africa was littered with “whites only” notices on trains, buses, in public amenities and even on common benches for resting, underlining the country’s apartheid policy; the separation of whites from blacks.

The Green Point Track holds many fond memories of inter-house meetings, inter-schools meetings, the Champ of Champs, inter-provincials and South African colleges’ athletics meetings.

Prior to the use of The Track, as it became known, athletics events were held at the Goodwood Showground. Smaller meetings were also held at venues across coloured residential areas far away from the beauty of Table Mountain and the beaches.

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These days, the track and field athletics scene in Cape Town is as dead as a doornail and is a far cry from the excitement and competition of yesteryear.

For the international reader, The Track is within walking distance of the Waterfront tourist hub in Cape Town.

The Green Point Track is not to be confused with the Green Point Stadium. The two stadia (stadiums) are also within walking distance from each other.

A third stadium is in the area: the Cape Town Stadium on Fritz Sonnenberg Road, Green Point. This essentially is a 55 000 football stadium, which erroneously enough does not offer any athletics facilities. It had been built for the 2010 soccer World Cup tournament.

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