2019 has brought new challenges for Hillsport, otherwise known as R&J Hill Engineering Ltd.
In May 2018, a throws related incident was reported at a fixture held at an athletics venue in England. The incident involved a hammer thrown from a UKA specification hammer/discus cage which carried over a track before landing in a spectator area. The handle struck an athlete which caused a minor leg injury. The injury could have been far worse and, following a safety review, UK Athletics introduced a new specification for all throwing cages.
The new UKA specification reduces the angle in which an implement can potentially land (the cage danger zone angle) from 83° to 56° (Hammer throw) and from 92° to 69° (Discus Throw).
Hillsport is an engineering-based company, with over forty years’ experience in the design, manufacture and installation of sporting equipment. Their work includes athletics, cricket, football, hockey, tennis and many other areas. Due to successful research and development, Hillsport can adapt and make changes to ensure their clients are receiving the best products in the industry.
Hillsport carried out modification works and signed off the first throws cage to the new UKA specification in the UK. This was at Wavertree Athletics Centre, Liverpool in February 2019, with the help and support of Liverpool Harriers and AC Secretary Arwell Williams.
From the engineers at their base in Leicester, to the installation team that travels the country, each different venue has brought new challenges to Hillsport.
Their most recent project took place at Bedford International Athletics Stadium (BIAS) – a high profile competition venue regularly used by England Athletics for prestige events. Following inspection of the two cages at the venue Hillsport (in partnership with CLS Sports on the groundworks) undertook repair and alteration works to the infield, stadium cage and carried out the first UK installation of the newly IAAF certified Hillsport Arena 710 cage in an external throws area adjacent to the main track.
Michael Hunt – England Athletics Facilities and Planning Manager said: “We are hugely appreciative of all the time and effort that John, Alec and Jacky have put into supporting the modernisation of throws cages across the UK. At a challenging time for the sport, Hillsport have worked closely with UKA and the IAAF to come up with innovative, practical and cost-effective throws cage solutions.”