Plans afoot to resurface Leila Robinson Courts
INTERNATIONAL Federation of Netball Association (IFNA) president Molly Rhone and Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) head Marva Bernard are among a team charged by the Ministry of Sport to identify a suitable replacement surface for the Leila Robinson Courts.
The deteriorating Leila Robinson Netball Courts were built in 1971 for the hosting of the World Netball Championships (WNC).
Bernard has continually expressed concern over the worn surface on which national teams train and which hosts local matches are played on several times per week. She is also unhappy with the poor lighting at the outdoor facility.
However, the current plan is to resurface the courts only.
Major Desmon Brown, general manager of Independence Park Limited (IPL) which manages the facilities, told the Jamaica Observer that it would cost between US$30,000 and $45,000 to resurface each of the four courts.
Rhone and Bernard visited a court while in Trinidad and Tobago for the recent Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain.
"I looked at Jean Pierre and I liked Jean Pierre. The team played on Jean Pierre and we went to look at another surface," Bernard told the Observer.
According to Minister without Portfolio with Responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, the funds have already been allotted for the project once the most suitable material is identified.
"The SDF (Sports Development Foundation) has done what it's supposed to do; funding is in place so we're awaiting the final word from persons who have the responsibility for choosing the court."
She added that the budget would dependend on the surface chosen.
"Our courts are highly utilised and so we want to get a surface that is going to withstand that kind of traffic. We're looking at the courts that we would want to have as samples to see if its going to stand up to that kind of pressure."
She added: "At this point we really just want to ensure that we choose the best surface and the most appropriate surface for us."
Jamaica won the AFNA Championships and Bernard is optimistic that once the right infrastructure is in place, the future would be even brighter for the sport.
"I look forward to the day when netball will have that kind of infrastructure. The sport is going to grow and I think basically all we really need now is to give the Sunshine Girls as much additional practise as possible," she said.