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Loss of QE II Stadium has affected performance of athletes

Loss of QE II Stadium has affected the performance of Canterbury athletes

July 25, 2014

Two University of Canterbury economics experts believe the loss of Queen Elizabeth II Stadium because of the earthquakes has affected the performance of Canterbury athletes.

Associate professors Seamus Hogan and Richard Watt have analysed results from national secondary schools’ athletics championships between 2008 and 2012 and compared performances of Christchurch athletes before and after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Their research looked at 8035 athlete events over the five years. Of those, 932 were from Christchurch schools.

Associate Professor Hogan gave a talk on the issue at the recent New Zealand Association of Economists Conference in Auckland.

``We found the average Christchurch athlete performance fell in the two years following the loss of QEII compared to the three years prior to the February 2011 quake,” he says.

``Of course, the earthquake profoundly affected all Christchurch residents in many ways. To assess how much of the deterioration in the performance of Christchurch athletes can be attributed to the effect of losing the QEII facility, we separated the events into three categories.

``They were events those such as sprints where the all-weather running track is clearly important; those mostly throws where it is not; and those other events where the likely effect is ambiguous.

``What we found was that there was a marked fall-off in the relative performance of Christchurch athletes in the track-relevant events like the sprints, and actually a small improvement in the city’s performance in the throwing events.’’

More analysis of the data is required before inferring that the results conclusively demonstrate the importance of good facilities for training athletes, but Associate Professor Hogan says that the preliminary results are certainly much stronger than they had anticipated and do suggest that the loss of the QEII facility has had an effect on Christchurch athletes.

ends

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