Holness targets sports tourism boost
KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC):
The Government has embarked on an overhaul of the island's sporting facilities with the aim of attracting major international sports events.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said Jamaica had in the past missed out on key sports events, but now hope the country could take full advantage of opportunities available.
"The Government has already started the process under the banner of Jamaica 55 Legacy Projects to improve the National Stadium Complex, the Trelawny Stadium, Chedwin Park Sporting Complex in St Catherine, Drax Hall in St Ann, and the Herb McKenley Stadium in Clarendon. All of these will see significant improvements," Holness said.
He said there were key plans for the National Stadium and the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium, which would make them critical to Jamaica's sports tourism product.
The use of the Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium has come under the microscope since its construction for the 2007 Cricket World Cup hosted in the Caribbean.
While the venue hosted the opening ceremony and warm-up matches for the event, it has not seen a high volume of sporting activity, with only a handful of international women's matches and West Indies A series being played there.
Holness was speaking at the unveiling of a statue in honour of renowned sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at Statue Park in Kingston.
The 31-year-old is a two-time Olympic 100-metre champion and seven-time World Cham-pionship gold medallist, and Holness said she "deserves a place in the annals of track and field.
"Shelly has achieved so much winning a total of six Olympic medals, including two gold medals, and nine World Championship medals, including an impressive seven gold medals," Holness said.
"She truly epitomises the Jamaican term 'likkle but tallawah'."
Next year, statues of other elite Jamaican athletes such as Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell are expected to be erected.