Every effort will be made to hold both of the island’s major schools’ athletics meets next term, but they will only be held if the National Stadium is available.
This was the decision coming out of a meeting with the organizers, jointly cheered by Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley and Minister of Education Ronald Jones yesterday at the Constitution Road headquarters of the Ministry of Education.
However, no deadline has been set for the staging of the 2013 Powerade Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships (BSSAC) or the Pine Hill National Primary Schools’ Athletics Championships (NAPSAC).
Also present were representatives from the National Sports Council (NSC), the Royal Barbados Police Force and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
A release from the Government Information Service stated that all parties remained committed to the meets being held this year.
“We have made progress in exploring what the issues are, highlighting those issues and placing the discussion where it ought to be . . . . The organizers of NAPSAC and BSSAC have gone away, [and] they will have discussions and come back to us within two weeks with recommendations regarding the convening of these two track meets,” Lashley said in the release.
“I remain very hopeful, though, that we will be able to move towards some definitive position on ensuring that we could have these very critical sporting events held in Barbados.”
The minister reconfirmed that the National Stadium – complete with a newly laid track and related infrastructure – should be completed in May, but the exact date had to be confirmed by the technical consultants.
“Once that date is identified and provided by the National Sports Council to the organizers, it will then allow them to come up with a number of scenarios which will have to factor into the various events and examinations occupying the attention of the various schools,” he explained.
A source who attended the meeting told MIDWEEKSPORT the ministers – both of whom had been involved in the recent general election – were updated on all that had transpired surrounding the issue.
This included attempts to use Kensington Oval, the meeting with NSC director of sports Erskine King, the rejection of the Blenheim ground as a venue and attempts to change the dates based on the availability of the Stadium.
“We cannot really plan until we know when the Stadium will be finished. We will sit with our people and put plans in place so that whenever the Stadium becomes available, we can host BSSAC and NAPSAC,” the source said.
“Whether the meets happen or not will hinge on the availability of the Stadium,” the person added. “It can’t be held anywhere else.”
Queries were made about the possible use of the UWI’s Ryan Brathwaite Track at Paradise Park, but it was reported that facility remains unavailable.
The issue of internal and external examinations was also put on the table.
The Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools and the Association of Public Primary School Principals will meet with the organizing committees of the respective meets to make further decisions.
“We are preparing to work within whatever parameters to see that the sports happen whenever the Stadium is available,” the source reiterated.