Venues will be OK

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

– ad­min­is­tra­tors

LO­CAL STAKE­HOLD­ERS have ex­pressed con­fi­dence that the is­land’s top sports fa­cil­i­ties will stave off, and quickly re­cover from, the ex­pected on­slaught of torrential rains and ex­treme weather as­so­ci­ated with Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

Speak­ing with The Gleaner yes­ter­day, Ma­jor Des­mon Brown, gen­eral man­ager of In­de­pen­dence Park Lim­ited, op­er­a­tors of the Na­tional Sta­dium, the Na­tional In­door Sports Cen­tre, Leila Robin­son Courts, bas­ket­ball courts, Na­tional Aquatic Cen­tre and the Na­tional Arena, said the fa­cil­ity is ready to ride out the storm.

Brown’s or­gan­i­sa­tion also over­sees op­er­a­tions for the Trelawny Multi-pur­pose Sta­dium, and said that venue will be safe as well.

“We have put through a plan, and one of the ma­jor things we did was to re­move all ob­jects that can fly around and we have cov­ered the stuff. Un­for­tu­nately, at Trelawny, we have a lot of glass there, and we can’t do much about that, so we just have to do what we can do,” he said.

The Trelawny Multi-Pur­pose Sta­dium is host­ing the West View from the McDon­ald Tun­nel of the bleach­ers sec­tion of the Na­tional Sta­dium ahead of the pas­sage of Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

Indies women, and Brown has backed all gov­ern­ment fa­cil­i­ties to re­open soon af­ter the storm.

“Both the In­door [Cen­tre] and the Na­tional Arena are built to with­stand hur­ri­canes. The In­door Cen­tre was built in 2004, The Na­tional Arena with­stood Hur­ri­cane Gil­bert, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t with­stand any­thing else,” he stressed.

Brown added that all venues will be ready in a week fol­low­ing

the de­par­ture of per­sons us­ing the Na­tional Arena as a hur­ri­cane shel­ter.

“The Arena is be­ing used as a shel­ter, so we can’t plan any­thing un­til all the per­sons move out. For the Na­tional Sta­dium, we ex­pect that within a week, it will be ready to host all events,” he noted.

Over on the western side of the is­land, Orville Pow­ell, pres­i­dent of reign­ing Red Stripe

Premier League cham­pi­ons Mon­tego Bay United, said those venues won’t be se­ri­ously af­fected be­cause of “proper drainage”.

“We have proper drainage here at Mon­tego Bay United, (lo­cated at We­spow Park), Cather­ine Hall, and I can speak for Reno FC also,” Pow­ell said.

“I don’t think we will have an is­sue with wa­ter, and Jar­rett Park is the same thing. Rain will fall on to the pitches but they will be okay,” he said, adding that MoBay United stopped train­ing as early as Fri­day last week.

Pow­ell said prepa­ra­tions for the hur­ri­cane have in­cluded tak­ing down bill­boards.

DE­CI­SIONS AF­TER STORM

Mean­while, George Forbes, In­ter-Sec­ondary School Sports As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion of­fi­cer said, for the Man­ning and daCosta Cup com­pe­ti­tions de­ci­sions will be made to re­sume ac­tion fol­low­ing the storm.

“It all de­pends on the dam­age that would be done to the fields. It’s the whole is­land that will be af­fected, so we can’t make a de­ci­sion un­til we know where is af­fected,” he rea­soned.

“As soon as we get the goa­head af­ter Matthew, we will make a de­ci­sion. We are not go­ing to rush any­thing, we have to wait and see what hap­pens,” he added.”

Forbes hinted that select venues could be used, if school play­ing fields are dam­aged.

“Yes we could do that but we pre­fer to wait un­til the pas­sage of Matthew be­fore we can make a de­ci­sion,” Forbes re­vealed.

One such venue could be the Sabina Park cricket ground in Kingston. Calls to Sabina Park and Jamaica Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Court­ney Fran­cis’ phone went unan­swered yes­ter­day.

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Sand­bags set up to con­trol the flow of ex­pected ex­cess wa­ter from en­ter­ing the Na­tional Aquatic Cen­tre.

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