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Stadium closing for track repairs

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Stadium closing for track repairs

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The National Stadium will be closed from August 1 to facilitate the laying of a spanking new athletics track.
And when it reopens in January 2012, Barbados will be able to host regional and international track and field meets for the first time in almost ten years. The last such meet held here was the Pan American Junior Championships in 2003.
Director of Sports Erskine King said they would once again be going with MONDO who laid the existing track back in 1999.
“Mondo has a world-wide reputation with regards to tracks. They have put down tracks for the major events like the World Championships, Olympic Games, Pan Am Games and their experience is very wide,” King said.
“We also have to do drainage which is critical and [part of the] criteria by the IAAF for certification. There is a specification for drainage and that is why the period of time would seem long.”
Dale Moore, public relations officer of the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) was present at the meetings with the National Sports Council (NSC) and Mondo, and said several of the existing flaws with the current layout would be adjusted.
Among these, the long jump run-up will also be adjusted, allowing for the sand pit to be centred and the second under-used pit will be moved from its close proximity to the cycle track.
The track will shift slightly to the north-east to correct the start of the 110 metres hurdles where there has been a plywood addition covered in the Mondo surface material near the velodrome.
A major decision will be made whether to have one or two “Ds” where the field events take place – that could include shifting the shot put to the opposite side – and the water jump may have to be moved as it no longer meets IAAF standards.
However, this will not displace the cyclists as the Randolph Field velodrome will remain in place.
“We can’t take it down because we would have no place to do cycling other than road races. Until we are able to do a cycling velodrome that is 250m, we have to use the 500m one,” King said.
No one was more pleased with the news than AAA president Esther Maynard.
“It’s been long in coming, but we are certainly happy to know that it is scheduled to start in August and that hopefully by the end of January 2012, we should be back in the stadium on a new track with some improvements to the actual layout of it, particularly in the area of the 110m hurdles,” Maynard said.
In the event that the work goes longer than expected, Maynard said they would look at other grounds which could hold 400m tracks. Previously, the AAA has held grass meets at the Barbados Community College, The Lester Vaughan School and Harrison College.
“I am not counting my chickens, but we are hoping too that the university track would be finished by then and we would certainly seek their support in using it, but five months is long enough time to do what they have to do here.”
During Government’s debate on the Estimates of Income and Expenditure in March, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said $2.2 million would be made available to the NSC for the laying of a new track.