INSPORTS encourages communities to assist playing field upgrade
As part of its islandwide thrust to improve the quality of playing fields for facilitating its grassroots development programmes, the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) is encouraging communities to assist the process with true team spirit through lower machinery costs, wherever possible.
Andrews and his administrative team braved the rains over the weekend and went on a tour of the playing field in Alva, St Ann, where rehabilitation exercises are currently under way, to ensure that the fields are up to standard for use during the football coaching clinics and competitions hosted in the parish.
"For any talented athlete to maximise his or her full potential, we will agree that he or she will have to be provided with proper sports equipment and training facilities," said Ian Andrews, administrative director, INSPORTS. "While the agency continues to increase its efforts in unearthing and nurturing talent at the community level, we are encouraging the communities to assist with this process.
"As the cost of labour is increasing, where it is possible we are encouraging the communities to provide the necessary machinery and equipment normally used in playing field upkeep at a reduced cost."
These upkeep exercises are in response to reports from the coaches and referees that playing fields with poor surfaces cause injury to players.
The state agency, which currently provides employment for approximately 1,500 labourers from communities islandwide for playing field maintenance services, has recently mandated that all fields being used for its programmes at the community level be properly monitored with ongoing maintenance in an effort to prevent injuries.
During the tour of Alva, officials outlined some of the main costs and exercises associated with the rehabilitation process, some of which include preventing overgrowth, pruning the playing field perimeter, supplying topsoil, rental of grader to flatten surface and clearing drains to prevent waterlog.
Additionally, costs are associated with the repairs to machinery being used, reinforcing and painting of goal posts and the provision of nets and braces.
The thrust to establish various centres within each parish for its football coaching clinics is in keeping with sports minister Olivia Grange's stated philosophy, to increase sports development at the community level.
"It is absolutely essential that we continue to focus on the talented youth in our communities. In doing this, we can truly give them a fair chance in developing their skills so that they can advance to the national level with ease and with the fundamentals to succeed in the game," said INSPORTS' assistant national sports coordinator, Rudolph Barnes.
Constantine Cunningham, sports officer for St Ann, said: "The community is excited for the development programmes and rehabilitation exercises. For many of them, football is a way to keep them out of trouble and to develop their talents. It is also the dream of many of our young players to advance to the professional level, and this may be the best route for them to get there."