Hold on, no Bolt stadium as yet

PAUL REID ON THE SPORTING EDGE

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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THE Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium should not be named after Usain Bolt, at least not yet, not anytime soon either.


And he should not get the Order of Merit either... not yet. The Order of Jamaica and Order of Distinction (Commander Class) should be sufficient for now.


It's not that Usain St Leo Bolt has not done more for this tiny speck of rock in the Caribbean Sea than almost every other human being in the last 100 years, but it's too much too soon.


Why is there such an unholy haste to name things after athletes who are still competing and are not even 30 years old as yet?


What happens next year when Bolt runs at the Olympic Games in Brazil and breaks the 200m World Record, wins two more gold medals in the 100m and the 4x100m relays? Will they name him a National Hero and name the entire parish of Trelawny after him?


And supposed he goes to the IAAF World Championships in London in 2017 and wins another three gold medals, what do we do then? Name the entire island after him? Usainland? or what about Boltapolis? Do we then change the flag and add the leaping Puma cat of his sponsors to the national crest? I guess Trinidad named almost every piece of open land after a sportsman, so we guess we must do the same thing -- Ato Boldon Stadium, Brian Lara Stadium, Dwight Yorke Stadium...


It seems to me those calling for Bolt to be given these honours are really trying to bring attention to themselves, as they say in dance hall, they are 'looking a forward'.


News came recently that the government plans to name the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium after Bolt and make it into a sports academy.


Sounds good on paper, and the expected spin-offs are tremendous, but unless the government spends a lot of money to configure the facility and relay the soil that has been put there, it could turn out to be a massive joke.


For starters, the stadium will not be able to accommodate an eight-lane 400m synthetic track, and it would be a joke to name a facility after the greatest sprinter in the history of track and field and not be able to lay a track there.


If they decide to lay down a smaller track, say a 200m track for training purposes, they would have to completely relay the surface to accommodate it. The stadium was built to accommodate the opening ceremony and warm up games in the 2007 ICC World Cup and as such the soil was sandy and loose, not the type that you can lay the base for a running track.


But if the authorities are intent on rushing ahead with naming something after him, they can always refurbish the Montego Bay Sports Complex and do so.


A running track is there already, it is close to everything that is needed to attract foreign teams and athletes for pre-season or any kind of training.


That stadium, which is configured for track and field and not cricket, comes complete with changing rooms, massage rooms, medical rooms, bathrooms, and is close enough to an international airport, shipping pier, hospital, shopping centres and hotels with world-class beaches. The Sam Sharpe Teachers' College and boarding house at Cornwall College are both less than 15 minutes away and could be used as dormitories when school is on holidays.


That shouldn't be too hard to sell.


Why then put in a second synthetic track at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium, 25 minutes away on the highway from Montego Bay? What is the sense in building another track in an area that really has not shown the need for one? Wouldn't that be like sprucing up a white elephant?



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