Mayor tests out new throw cage upgrades

CITY of Greater Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons may have found a new calling - as a hammer thrower.

Councillor Lyons rolled up his sleeves and demonstrated some fancy footwork as he attempted a hammer throw at the La Trobe University Bendigo Athletics Complex on Wednesday morning.

Councillor Lyons was at the complex to unveil recent upgrades to its hammer throw cage.

The City of Greater Bendigo funded the upgrade as part of a 2013/14 Budget commitment.

The project cost $43,671.

"It's about safety and coming up to code," Councillor Lyons said.

"We've lifted the heights of the netting and we've replaced all the netting.

"It's important to be up to international code because if you're not up there you can't be teaching people.

"And it's about safety - we don't want anybody hurt."

Active and healthy communities manager Patrick Jess said the upgrade included re-configuring the cage’s steelworks and replacing the netting.

“To make the cage safer for competitors, officials and track athletes, the gates were widened to ensure the hammer can better land within its allocated field,” Mr Jess said.

“After 14 years, the netting was also past its used-by date and was replaced, further improving the cage’s safety."

The upgrade was completed on time and came in under budget.

Bendigo's hammer throw competitors have given the new cage the thumbs up

Hunter Gill, 65, recently took up hammer throwing and gave the new cage a workout after its unveiling on Wednesday.

Mr Gill will compete at the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships in January.

"I only just started doing this a year ago," he said.

"It's great fun.

"I'd been running around and doing all the athletics.

"Then one day I just had a go at it and thought it was really fun."

Mr Gill said the new hammer throw cage was great.

"Obviously anything that's an improvement is just wonderful for Bendigo," he said.

"Bendigo's just lifting in so many ways. It's a pretty serious venue now."

Visit the Bendigo Advertiser's website for a gallery of photos.

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