Track retopping and SmarTracks installation
Constructed in 2009, Cardiff International Sports Stadium is the most important athletics stadium in Wales, with capacity for 2,553 seated and 2,400 standing spectators. It serves as the headquarters of Welsh Athletics, the organisation governing Welsh athletics and which is part of UK Athletics, the national umbrella body for sport.
The stadium has been given a new look in 2019, with the running track as well as the sprint sections and sector surfaces extensively renovated by Polytan. The choice for the new synthetic surface fell on the “professional among sports surfaces” – the Rekortan M from Polytan. It features in many large athletics stadiums around the world, where its outstanding acceleration and tread elasticity have proven the worth of the surface in international elite sport. For the retopping in the Cardiff International Sports Stadium, the complete renewal of the tartan top was accompanied by a change in the colour of the surface: the athletes are now training and competing on a Rekortan M in “Hertha blue”. Hertha blue is an intensive blue shade that became famous the world over when it was first used in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in 2004. The sprint sections and the sector surfaces in Cardiff, however, remained in classic brick red, presenting a striking visual contrast with the blue running track and the blue run-up tracks in the sectors.
The stadium operators decided to use the opportunity of the surface retopping to add a technical innovation, the Polytan SmarTracks time and data recording system. This is designed to enable comprehensive performance diagnostics of the athletes using timing gates embedded invisibly in the surface. The running time, speed, step length, step frequency and jump height of the users can be recorded and analysed. The system is installed not just on an inside lane but also on two sprint sections.