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Track repairs set for August

Justin Marville

Track repairs set for August

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PLANS TO REPLACE the National Stadium’s worn athletic surface are back on track.
For real this time.
Speaking at Saturday night’s National Sports Awards Ceremony, Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley gave the assurance that work to replace the stadium’s outdated track would begin in August after funding issues derailed last year’s grand rehabilitative project.
He reiterated his stance just one month after revealing that the project would start directly after Crop Over during the Barbados Olympic Association’s awards dinner in December.
“Since I last spoke to this issue, it was my expectation that the track would have been laid already, however, changes in the project cost required a review of funding arrangements,” said Lashley in his address at the Frank Collymore Hall.
“Funding for the project has since been approved by Cabinet and the contractors and suppliers are ready to begin work on the replacement of the track.
“In order, however, to accommodate the 2012 national Inter-Schools Sports, the athletic season and Crop Over, a decision was made to delay the start date,” he added.
“As soon as these events have finished, we will commence the project, which is scheduled to be completed in six months.”
It’s all a part of the NSC’s new strategic Aplan, according to Lashley, who said the strategy will focus on improving existing sporting infrastructure across the island.
“The council will continue enhancing our facilities in 2012, including the construction of two pavilions in St Phillip, thus affording our athletes the necessary resources to pursue their training,” said Lashley.
“This strategic plan will [also] provide general strategic direction to the various national sports  associations, presenting a clear focus for all activities related to the development of sports and sports personnel in Barbados.
“[But] the success of any strategic plan in these tough economic times will be heavily dependent on the adoption of daring, new and innovative approaches,” he added.
It’s the second time in as many years that Lashley guaranteed a summer start to the stadium refurbishment project after then World champion hurdler Ryan Brathwaite threatened not to compete at the 2011 National Championships unless the track was repaired.
Cabinet then approved funding worth $2 million to replace the 13-year-old track before the project was shelved again.