Invitation to athletes
Barbados is extending an invitation to foreign athletes to use the new track and planned improved facilities at the National Stadium as a stopover training venue ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley revealed his vision after making a recent inspection of the track.
“With the envisioned upgrade to the National Stadium after the completion of the track and the proposed construction of an international velodrome, Barbados can benefit tremendously from Olympic athletes who may wish to train in conditions similar to Rio,” Lashley told NATIONSPORT.
“Barbados is ideally located in terms of geography and with our social and infrastructural conditions being matched by our sporting facilities, we could market Barbados as the place to train ahead of Rio.”
Lashley said Government would continue to explore and exploit sports tourism opportunities and his ministry was committed to enhancing local sports facilities.
“The completed track will be of a high international standard. We already have an international swimming pool and our gymnasium could meet any requirements of any of the indoor disciplines,” he added.
Barbados has already established a direct air link with Brazil and countries could view the island as an ideal transition point for their athletes on the way to Rio.
On his tour of the Stadium last week, Lashley expressed confidence that the refurbished track should be ready by mid-May.
Work commenced on the track in August last year and was slated to finish at the end of December or the start of January.
However, the $2.5 million project was hit by construction and technical delays.
Neither the National Primary Schools’ Athletics Championships nor the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships were staged in the Hilary term. (KB)