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Trelawny stadium to be renamed in Bolt’s honour

Published:Wednesday | September 9, 2015 | 6:48 PMShayne Fairman

The Government revealed plans are afoot to rename the Trelawny Multi-Purpose stadium the Usain Bolt Sport Academy, after the iconic Jamaican sprint legend.

Speaking at a press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday, Minister with Responsibility for Sports Natalie Neita-Headley told the media that it is a matter of priority, as it is "near and dear to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller".

"It (renaming the stadium) has been the prime minister's dream, not just since Beijing 2015, but it will reflect her desire to have that stadium in his (Usain Bolt's) home parish named appropriately - the Usain Bolt Sport Academy," Neita-Headley outlined yesterday.

"We would not do so, however, until the completed finance of putting in a track is realised," she assured.

Bolt is a six-time Olympic gold medallist and has won 11 IAAF World Championship gold medals.

She noted that $26 million has been approved for the installation of an irrigation system at the facility.

The stadium was built in 2007, through an agreement with the People's Republic of China and the Jamaican Government, which put up at least US$30 million to have it completed. It hosted the opening ceremony and warm-up matches during the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean.

White Elephant

The stadium currently hosts the annual Jamaica Jazz and Blues concert. Some Jamaicans call it a 'white elephant', however, as it is scarcely utilised. However, Neita-Headley believes naming it after Bolt will attract international audiences.

"I don't think we can ever, ever refer to anything that is associated with the legendary Usain Bolt as a white elephant," Neita Headley said.

"I think it will be a great representation of that venue. I love it and I think many Jamaicans love it. It is a great location and I think may people across the world, including sportsmen and women, will want to associate with that venue, more so if it is the Usain Bolt Sport Academy," she stressed. not giving a specific timeline when it would be ready, and added: "I can tell you that it is very near and dear to the prime minister and with that I can tell you that it comes with a great sense of urgency."