Refurbished $23-m Leila Robinson Netball Courts opened
THE Leila Robinson Netball Courts, completely refurbished with synthetic playing surface to the tune of $23 million, was officially opened yesterday by minister without portfolio with responsibility for sports, Natalie Neita-Headley.
However, the seating facility is yet to be completed.
Neita-Headley, in officially opening the courts at the Independence Park Complex, expressed gratitude to the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) for its effort in providing the world-class surface for the country's netball programme.
The synthetic surface of the four courts are made of polyurethane tiles, which will help to improve the speed of local games and also to minimise the chances of players sustaining serious injuries.
"I am pleased to be here at the opening of the courts as we kept our commitment of improving and building sports in Jamaica, in this case the refurbishing of the Leila Robinson Netball Courts," Neita-Headley said.
"Our girls (netballers) have been practising and playing in harsh conditions and with this new and improved facility I believe that they can reach to the top," she added.
Neita-Headley then congratulated the Sunshine Girls for winning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
"It is my pleasure to congratulate our Sunshine Girls for dominating and destroying teams at the Commonwealth Games and for winning that very exciting match against England to take the bronze medal and for that, each of you girls will be getting US$1,000 (over JA$100,000) for your efforts," the sports minister declared.
Chairman for SDF, Dr Warren Blake, said that the SDF is about building sports in the country and the refurbishing of the Leila Robinson Netball Courts was never in doubt.
"This is a part of our thrust to upgrade the sporting facilities in the country. Netball is the most successful team sport here in Jamaica and we want to be responsible for its development," he said.
"It has been a long wait but it was worth waiting for, as these synthetic surfaces will surely improve the playing conditions for our girls as this surface will help reduce injuries as it is more soft to play on," he said.
Dr Blake then urged everyone to take care of the new facility.
"As for the spectator seats, the contracts have been given out and the seats have been ordered, so that will soon be in place and I encourage surrounding communities and persons using the courts to take care of it."
Marva Bernard, president for Netball Jamaica, thanked the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and SDF for their support with the refurbishing of the Leila Robinson Netball Courts.
"We are thrilled that the long wait is over, as we have a first-class facility to play on, and I am very happy that the wonderful change has come.
"I just want to thank the GOJ through Natalie Neita-Headley and SDF for making this possible, as our courts are named after an icon. I also want to thank Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, without her help this day would not have been possible," she ended.