Forde: Cycling left off track
Add Colin Forde to the list of those with concerns over the National Stadium’s refurbishment.
The long-standing coach believes cycling was overlooked in the plans to repair the Waterford venue after saying nothing was done to protect the velodrome from any damage caused by the heavy-duty vehicles working at the Stadium.
Forde made the comment in a WEEKENDSPORT interview while lamenting the fact that track cyclists have been without a venue to train at since last July.
“I acknowledge that to get to the inner field of the stadium you would have to cross the cycling track but my concern is that the protection of the cycling track was never taken into consideration in a meaningful way,” explained the one-time Olympic rider.
“With Crop Over they used to put down ply-board sheeting for the trucks to drive across and I thought with proper planning, rubber matting could’ve been placed across the cycling track to cushion where those heavy-duty vehicles are moving in and out, or a ramp could’ve been used.
“I knew there would’ve been damage to the cycling track coming out of this construction but one of the sad things about it is that the cycling track, although it is a concrete track, cannot be easily repaired because mortar does not hold on cast concrete that easy.
“As soon as the track goes into use, all the mortar that is used to fill the holes will come right back out,” he added.
However, National Sports Council director Erskine King has refuted such claims, saying the cycling track is just fine as plans were always in place to protect the velodrome during construction.
“I know there were things like dry wood and other materials placed over the track where the vehicles had to cross the track because we knew the velodrome had to be protected from damage,” explained King.
“I can’t speak to the exact materials used but I know personally that the cycling track has been taken care of because it was in our plans and I have seen that the necessary parts of the track were covered.”
Photos taken at the site by a NATION team appear to support King’s stance, as no visible or significant damage was detected.
Forde’s claim is just the latest storyline in the highly publicized construction of the athletics track at the National Stadium – which has been delayed and could cancel this year’s premier schools’ athletics meets.
“Just like football and track and field officials, I too am disappointed with what has happened at the Stadium but fortunately for them, they have other venues while we have nowhere to go,” Forde reasoned.
“We’ve had to use the road which was always part of our programme but it is very, very difficult to go into a track competition and not have any kind of track training under your belt.
“And the thing is that our successes have always been on the track and not the road. With the exception of Darren Matthews, we have never had any real accomplishments on the road in the international arena outside of the Caribbean Road Race Championships”.
Forde made the comments as his cyclists go to Trinidad by monthend to compete at the Easter Grand Prix without any track work in almost ten months.