Wayde’s stadium naming hits hurdle
The City of Cape Town has done an about-turn on plans to name Green Point Athletics Track after Olympic gold medallist Wayde van Niekerk.
This comes almost a year after Premier Helen Zille proposed the stadium be named after Cape Town-born Van Niekerk owing to his heroics at the 2016 Rio Games‚ where he won gold and broke the 400m world record.
Mayor Patricia de Lille backed the idea in February, but a report to Wednesday’s council naming and nominations committee has shot down the idea‚ saying a "heroes’ wall" would be built at the stadium instead.
"After discussions between the executive mayor‚ the premier and the chairperson of the naming committee‚ it was agreed that the City of Cape Town would not proceed with the previous proposal that the Green Point Athletics Track be renamed after Wayde van Niekerk‚" reads the report.
The wall would honour all athletes who have achieved Olympic hero status.
Michael Mpofu‚ Zille’s spokesman‚ said he was not privy to any discussions on the matter. Naming committee chairman Brett Herron said the council naming policy allowed individuals to be honoured only posthumously‚ except under exceptional circumstances.
"It is proposed the city rather opt for a solution where we can pay tribute to all of those athletes who have performed exceptionally on the world stage‚" he said.