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Fort Smith looking for piece of track and field championships
Hay River has hosted event for 22 years

Angele Cano
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fort Smith is looking to get in on helping to host the NWT Track and Field Championships - a task that has been solely Hay River's for over two decades.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Diamond Jenness Secondary School track has been home to the NWT Track and Field Championships for the past 22 years. A discussion will be held at tomorrow's annual general meeting of the Track and Field Association about the future location of the event. - Angele Cano/NNSL photo

Fort Smith has a new rubber track that officially opened in September near Paul William Kaeser High School.

Mayor Janie Hobart said the venue has the capacity to hold a portion of the championships.

The idea will be brought forward to the Track and Field Association's annual general meeting on June 7.

“We would be interested in working with Hay River,” said Hobart. “It would assist with volunteer burnout and provide a great economic boom for both towns.”

The Fort Smith mayor said it is not the town's intention to try and host the entire event and several options to share the event could be explored, including alternating years or hosting junior and senior events in separate locations.

“It could give the opportunity to grow the event,” said Hobart. “We feel with our brand new track and all other amenities that we could certainly work with Hay River. We also know we have finite resources in our community.”

The NWT Track and Field Championships have been held in Hay River for the past 22 years. A steering committee, located in Hay River, runs the entire event from start to finish, including attracting volunteers, planning events and providing event results to the Track and Field Association.

While event co-coordinator Tim Borchuk couldn't comment on whether or not members of the Hay River committee would be interested in sharing the event with Fort Smith, he said, “Hay River has provided the athletes of the NWT with a great venue and an exceptional event, and we have the capacity to continue to do that."

This year's event – which will run from June 6-8 – will boast the highest number of participants to date with 1,180 and 35 teams expected to attend. Last year, there were 1,120 participants in the event.

Every year, more than 300 volunteers sign up to help run the event.

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