The sound of bouncing basketballs will soon fill the Bendigo Stadium.
Next week government restrictions will be lifted on indoor sports facilities which will allow the stadium to reopen its doors.
As of June 22 elite teams will commence indoor training, general court bookings from July 1 onward and then July 13 will mark the beginning of the junior domestic basketball competition, with adults returning the following week on July 20.
“Our venue is here for the community and always will be,” Bendigo Stadium Limited chief executive officer Nathan O’Neill said in a statement.
“Without the community’s undivided support and presence, there is no Bendigo Stadium.
“Therefore, we implore you all to come back to the Bendigo Stadium and see the positive change our team has been working amazingly hard to enhance your experiences.
“We will not be complacent and will never undervalue the importance of good hygiene practices to minimise the risk of COVID-19 from this day forward. Our team understands the leadership role we play within the community to set the standard of a friendly safe environment for all.”
Bendigo Basketball Association president Ben McCauley said the plan was for limited indoor training sessions to resume at the stadium.
“It will be fantastic next week when we can return to training indoors, but there is still work to be done to ensure all the processes are in place,” McCauley said.
Since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect earlier in the year, McCauley said it had been one of the most challenging periods for Basketball in Bendigo.
“Without a doubt it has been a real challenge,” he said.
“It has been the biggest thing I’ve been involved with during my 35 years at the stadium. Going from 3500 athletes through the doors each week to nothing.
“With all the extra requirements I’ve never experienced anything like it. But it’s great to have them in place to ensure the safety of everyone at the stadium.”
While players have been sidelined there has been plenty of planning work behind the scenes in preparation for the return.
“The work that Nathan O’Neill, Ben Harvey, and the entire sports team has been doing has simply gone above and beyond their usual roles,” McCauley said.
“They have been dedicated to getting people back on the courts.”
- From June 22 elite teams can commence training.
- On July 1 the Bendigo Stadium Bistro and Sports Bar will reopen.
- General court bookings will be available from July 1
- A date is still to be announced as to when domestic volleyball competition can return
The Bendigo junior domestic winter competition will return on July 13 for a 10-week season which also includes finals.
The senior winter competition will start one week later on July 20 for a nine-week season which also includes finals.
All team entries will close on Friday June 26 at 12pm and teams have been encouraged to send them in as soon as possible as there are limited spaces available.
All dates are subject to change based on guidelines set out by the Victorian Government and Basketball Victoria.
Bendigo Stadium chief executive officer O’Neill said he was looking forward to the future at the centre.
“There is a new norm, a new future, and a new direction right here at the Bendigo Stadium,” he said.
“Looking forward to moving forward in strength with you.”
Courtesy of Bendigo Advertiser