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Off-track!


Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Off-track!

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?A storm in a teacup.
?That is how director of sports Erskine King described reaction to masqueraders crossing the newly laid Mondo track at the National Stadium.
On Grand Kadooment Day, there were strong comments on the social network, with some people expressing alarm that the track was uncovered as thousands of revellers, some in high heels, pranced up and down and paraded before the judges.
King assured all concerned that the track was in good shape.
“I have walked the track today [yesterday] along with the acting superintendent at the National Stadium Joel Garner and senior technical officer Ronald Thompson and there is no, no problem with the track, as we anticipated,” King told MIDWEEKSPORT.
?“There is nothing on the track other than bits and pieces of costume. That is not a problem. There is a protocol for cleaning of a track which will be utilized.”
There was also a message being circulated asking the media to “wipe away the ministerial spin and expose the truth” because the “National Sports Council effectively voids its two-month-old warranty on the new National Stadium track with the activities”.
“It is utter nonsense about having voided the warranty with Mondo. It is foolishness,” said King, who added that he had only heard about the accusation.
“That is part of the discussion which we held with Mondo before they started any work; that the facility is a multi-purpose facility that would also accommodate our annual Crop Over Festival and they said that was not a problem. So it does not infringe any warranty.”
The head of the National Sports Council said there was “no two-month warranty”, nor any “such agreement relative to that”.
He pointed out that similar arguments had arisen in 2000, the year after the track was relaid.
“People must look at the larger picture. It is our national festival. It has been at the Stadium from time immemorial.”
In fact, he added, when the Mondo inspectors returned to Barbados last year they could not believe that the track was still in such good condition after 13 or 14 years.
King said the biggest problem facing the track was the length of spikes some athletes were using. Mondo felt so strongly about this, they put it in writing.
“The extra-large spikes, when they go in, they go beyond the rubberized surface to the asphalt. So high-heel shoes are not the same things as spikes on an athletics shoe. The pressure of running at speed is going to go further in than a high-heel shoe,” he explained.
Deputy director Neil Murrell said it was important that no divots developed on the track. Over time, debris built up in those tiny holes, they were eroded and eventually became patches.
Murrell said he inspected the track after Junior Kadooment and it was fine. There was some debris left after the stage was removed and they spoke to officials at the National Cultural Foundation so a more thorough job would have been done for future events.
?King also revealed that the track had received certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and copies of the relevant documents had been sent to the Athletics Association of Barbados, the Barbados Olympic Association and the Ministry of Sports.

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