Where ballers, skaters play

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - KAREN PRE­TO­RIUS

THE new Bat­tery Park at the V&A Wa­ter­front has been de­scribed as “world-class” by ballers and skaters who came out to play at the open­ing yes­ter­day.

The ur­ban park cov­ers 1.2 hectares and in­cludes a skate park, bas­ket­ball courts, green space, shops and a canal for stand-up pad­dlers and kayak­ers.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Wa­ter­front, David Green, said through its pedes­trian routes, it would con­nect Cape Town’s cen­tral busi­ness district with the Wa­ter­front. He said the area has not been hos­pitable for peo­ple walk­ing to the Wa­ter­front, some­thing the new ur­ban park would change.

“Great cities in the world are de­fined by their parks,” he said.

The Bat­tery Park is named af­ter the Am­s­ter­dam Bat­tery, which was the main coastal pro­tec­tion for Cape Town har­bour 350 years ago. The site is his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it has the re­mains of the bat­tery.

Green said they had “re-pur­posed the old, and brought in the new” to cre­ate a space that is “very cool for res­i­dents”.

“The area used to be full of arms and sol­diers. Now it is full of ballers and skaters,” he said.

Jean-Marc Jo­hannes, from Athlone, who won the coun­try’s first bronze in skat­ing at the In­ter­na­tional In­done­sia Games ear­lier this year, said the fa­cil­ity was world-class and was on a par with parks he has been to in other parts of the world.

He won the Cape Town Sports Coun­cil’s first award for skat­ing in July. The sport has been in­cluded as a code for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“This is the first step for big­ger things,” he said at the open­ing.

On the bas­ket­ball courts, 60 teams took part in a com­pe­ti­tion to mark the open­ing. Teams from Khayelit­sha, Nyanga, Worces­ter, Gaut­eng and over­seas, in­clud­ing ballers from Swe­den, put the ball through hoops.

Green said the next long-term project would be to con­nect the Wa­ter­front to Sea Point and Green Point.

• En­try to Bat­tery Park is free and it is open seven days a week.

| BREN­DAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA)

SKATE­BOARD­ERS try out the new fa­cil­i­ties at the park.

BREN­DAN MAGAAR African News Agency (ANA) |

SIXTY bas­ket­ball teams took part in a com­pe­ti­tion to mark the open­ing of the park.

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