Stadium track almost ready as prospect of sports' return looks brighter

Stadium track almost ready as prospect of sports' return looks brighter

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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JAMAICA'S track and field athletes will soon be able to use the National Stadium track once more, as only marking of the lanes is left for the project to be completed.

The relaying of the track began late last year and, although a few weeks behind schedule, the reopening of the track should come just in time for the resumption of sports after the lockdown.

Minister of Sport Olivia Grange toured the stadium facility on Friday morning, along with Major Desmond Brown, general manager of Independence Park Limited (IPL); Mike Fennell, chairman of the IPL board; Garth Gayle, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA); Dr Warren Blake, immediate past president of the JAAA; and Ian Forbes, first vice-president of the JAAA.

Major Brown said that based on his calculations, the completion of the marking of the track should be in less than two weeks, unless there is intervention of rain.

Minister Grange lauded all those involved in the project, saying planning was critical in making things happen.

“This is a perfect example of good planning, because the decision was taken that we were going to put aside funds, over time, so that when it was time to replace the track we would not be begging money, we would not have to be convincing the Ministry of Finance to make funds available,” she explained.

Grange indicated that the relaying of the track had been after the original scheduled time, but there was good reason for it.

“Funds were being put aside gradually, over time, through the Sports Development Foundation so we could replace the track. We have gone over a little of the time that the track should have been repaired because of the maintenance and care that IPL has implemented over the years.

The minister was happy that the track has been relayed before it fell into a state of disrepair and the usual complaints started flooding in.

“We go a little bit more out of the track but we felt that now is the time to do it rather than wait until people start complaining about the condition of the track because…there was time when there was constant complaining about this track and about Stadium East.

“So, a decision was taken, a policy decision, that we would make sure that the Stadium East track and this track [National Stadium] would always be in pristine condition.”

Brown said that the work had been done after consultation with the JAAA.

“The decision to resurface was actually taken in conjunction with the JAAA. We had several inspections about when it is that we should replace it,” he said.

The work done on the track was monitored by the JAAA to ensure that it would be compliant with World Athletics rules. Compliance will ensure that all records, both area and world records, can be ratified by the sport's governing body.

— Dwayne Richards

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