Little athletics hit by vandals

SENSELESS vandalism at the Cooma Athletics Centre will disadvantage young athletes in the district.

Just after Christmas the Cooma Athletics Centre was broken into and expensive sport equipment that has taken years of fundraising was burnt.

Cooma Athletics Centre president Lyn Stead said a lot of fundraising and public money had gone into buying the equipment.

"We are probably looking at $15,000 worth of damage," Mrs Stead said.

"A timing gate worth around $8,000, and two high jump set ups will set us back about $5,500. There is a trolley which cost around $2,500 and a rotary hoe for the long jump will cost about $1,500.

"We are hoping it will be covered by insurance, but it will affect us and schools that use the equipment, Mrs Stead said.

"It saddens me the effort by our centre committees over decades of seasons has been destroyed in a moment of vandalism.

"There will be alteration to nearly all of our meet programs with the loss of high jump. And it's back to hand held watches until we are able to procure another set of timing gates."

Fire and Rescue NSW captain Chris Reeks said firefighters were called out to the fire at 11.30pm on Saturday night, December 29.

"A hole was cut in the shed and the door was opened from the inside before the equipment was pulled outside on the ground and set alight," Mr Reeks said.

Mrs Stead said little athletics has been going in Cooma since 1981 and nothing like this has happened before.

"This has been the worst incident. We had no problems when we were based at the Showground and then later at the high school," she said.

"Quite a few attempts have been made since we have been at Snowy Oval, it is a bit out of the way and people can hide in the bushes."

Mrs Stead said it looked like it had been planned and she slammed the vandals.

"They should grow up and get a life," she said.

"How would you like it done to your property."

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Cooma police on 64520099.

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