VICTORIAN Country Athletic Championships will return to Ballarat in 2018.
Ballarat Regional Athletic Centre was awarded the major event in a new five-year hosting rotation that Athletics Victoria unveiled on Monday.
Traditionally moving between key regional hubs in Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong, the meet will now move to Albury-Wodonga and the Gippsland-based club South Coast Athletics.
BRAC successfully hosted more than 700 athletes in the championships at Llanberris earlier this year.
Keen to put Ballarat’s name forward again, BRAC president Sarah Davis said it was important to share the meet about, particularly to new locations, to help promote and develop athletics across the state.
“It will be wonderful to host the championships again,” Davis said.
“Hopefully Ballarat Regional Tourism and the community of Ballarat can get behind us again.
“BRAC is undergoing a strategic process now for new ways to develop and make greater use of the facilities we have here.”
Davis said BRAC was keen to encourage more disciplines, such as pole vaulting, at Llanberris and was working with the council to make the finishing touches to the track redevelopment and facility upgrade that has been done in the past year.
The championships, held each Australia Day long weekend, will move to Bendigo next year, then Geelong and South Coast before Ballarat with Albury-Wodonga to follow in 2019.
Davis said a reinstated country committee allowed all regional bases to report directly to Athletics Victoria.
She hoped the move would also help develop strong regional hubs through western Victoria, including Horsham and Warrnambool, to allow more promising athletes a pathway and a chance to participate in the athletics.