1974 Games arena to be torn down

CHRISTCHURCH’S QEII Park, which was built to host the 1974 Commonwealth Games, has been ordered demolished more than a year after being severely damaged by a deadly earthquake.

The Christchurch City Council confirmed yesterday that it had received a demolition order for the stadium which hosted track and field events at the 10th Commonwealth Games. The stadium’s grandstands were irreparably damaged by the 22 February, 2011 quake that killed 185 people.

The Christchurch Games followed Edinburgh’s hosting of the event in 1970. But it was events in Munich at the 1972 Olympic Games, where 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered, which led to unprecedented levels of security for participants and spectators at the newly-built stadium in Christchurch.

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Scotland, after a successful home games four years earlier, fared badly, with only Rosemary Payne winning a medal.

The discus thrower from Kelso, who also represented Great Britain at the 1972 Olympic Games, won the silver medal at the age of 41 to go with the gold she won in Edinburgh.

Spectators also saw Jamaica’s Don Quarrie win the 100 and 200 metres, Ben Jipcho of Kenya win the 3,000 and 5,000 metres and Tanzania’s Filbert Bayi beat New Zealand’s John Walker in the 1,500 metres.

England performed well on the track and field, with their haul of ten gold medals the best return of any country. Ian Thompson produced an astonishing run in the marathon to finish more than two minutes ahead of his nearest rival.

His time of 2:09:12 was the fastest run in a competitive marathon at that time, and he ran it just a year after making his debut at the distance.

Since 1974, the stadium was used for greyhound racing and football, as well as other national and international athletics events, including the World Athletics Championships last year after repairs from the 2010 earthquake had cleared it for use.

It has also hosted concerts by artists including David Bowie, Tina Turner and AC/DC among others.