THE 2019 TRACK AND FIELD SEASON is about to officially start.
Tomorrow, the first meet is expected to take place at the while secondary schools’ inter-house sports start on February 1.
Sadly, after all this time, the National Stadium is still in a deplorable state, its imposing structure now standing without a roof. The latest report on the Stadium, as far as construction work is concerned, is that workmen were lifting the galvanised sheet covering off four of the stands.
It is now six years too long that schools and organisers have been without the use of this facility. As a result, track and field meets have had to be accommodated at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, which has also had its fair share of issues already vented by sporting officials.
So here we are back at square one in 2019.
Promises were made by the Minister of Sport in the former Democratic Labour Party Government that Barbados would receive an ultra-modern facility. At the time, it was to be facilitated through a grant from the People’s Republic of China, but Chinese officials then declared they could not finance such a project until 2020.
While the current Barbados Labour
Party Government did not specifically address the in its manifesto, Minister of Sports John King has been quoted in the press as saying that Barbados could expect to see a new multimillion-dollar facility in 2022.
King has since moved the timeline for completion of the Stadium to the end of 2019. In an interview last August, he said THE DECAYING galvanised sheets were taken off the roof of the Clarence Jemmott Stand at the National Stadium recently. this country would see a finished facility before the end of the year, adding they were currently in discussions with some entities.
It is time Barbadians and athletes and those involved in sports see some progress made to complete the work at the Stadium. It does not only stick out now like an eyesore, but should also be a source of some embarrassment for this country.
How could we be short-changing our athletes, coaches and those who lend their support to those who are looking to hone their skills and represent Barbados in the international sporting arena?
How could we also not be moving with some haste and doing all in our power to ensure that the widely anticipated Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships, as well the National Primary Schools Athletic Championships, be both staged at their original home?
The is an embarrassment, and every effort must be made to return this facility to its glory days, a time when local track and field athletes did not only clock their best times, but some of the best from around the world competed here, cheered and celebrated by spectators.