Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Grange provides update on stadium tracks

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2020 | 8:26 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Grange
Grange

As athletics stakeholders continue to await rehabilitation work to the synthetic track at the National Stadium, Minister of Sport Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, pointed to weather conditions and the ability of the German-based manufacturers (BSW) to travel to Jamaica as the main factors that will determine the start date of the resurfacing exercise.

The minister pointed out that the track has to be laid on a completely dried surface, and so they must await the end of seasonal rains before beginning the project.

“The material for the resurfacing of the stadium track is on site. Upgrading after 10 years of usage is now necessary for the track to retain its Class 1 certification by World Athletics,” Grange said, while noting the project should be completed within six weeks.

“The track was laid in 2010 with a projected lifespan of eight years but, because of maintenance and care, we were able to extend it by another two years to 2020,” Grange added. “The Government is putting a maintenance/replacement programme in place to ensure that there is money for upgrading stadiums. It is through such a plan for the National Stadium that we have money for a new track.”

She also noted that, with BSW personnel needed on site to manage the process, their ability to travel to Jamaica, considering COVID-19 restrictions, will also influence the timeline.

Grange also pointed out that work on the track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex is set to commence in the current financial year. She advised that the assessment process for the facility has been completed and that the Government is now fully aware of the scope of the project.

WELCOMED NEWS

Meanwhile, outgoing president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake, welcomed the news that work at the facilities will begin shortly, noting that the absence of the track in Montego Bay, in particular, has seriously affected the development of athletes in western Jamaica.

“We are hopeful that it will be finished as promised, because we have been without the facility in Montego Bay for nearly two years, and so it is something that is really long overdue,” said Dr Blake.

“The National Stadium, we were told that the upgrading would have started in August, but I would still be happy if we get it to start before the start of the next season,” he said.

“This is good for us because, in my annual report, I have complained about not having the facility in Montego Bay, because nobody down there has anywhere suitable to practise on, and there are no proper facilities down in the west,” Dr Blake stated.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com