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Minister hopes for further upgrades at stadium


Should the funds become available athletes will be able to enjoy much-needed upgraded facilities at the National Stadium.


This is the word from Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed those gathered for the 31st Annual National Sports Council Awards Ceremony on Saturday night at the Frank Collymore Hall.


He pointed out that the field is now up to FIFA standards and the track has been finally correctly laid to IAAF specifications. However, he admitted that there is still a lot of work to be done to bring the National Stadium into the 21st century.


“We recognise that we still have some way to go in upgrading this facility to ensure that it meets international standards. Hence, our list of priorities includes the replacement of the stands and dressing rooms; and the installation of a new velodrome at a site close by. As you know, all of this depends on the availability of funds,” said Lashley.


He noted that although the country has been facing serious economic challenges of late, it was important that ways be found to upgrade and maintain sports infrastructure.


“It will be a costly exercise, but one which must be undertaken if our sportsmen and sportswomen are to excel. It must be undertaken if we are to exploit the economic dimension of sport, and the business and career opportunities it affords to our young people. A phased approach will be pursued and possible sources of technical and financial assistance are being actively explored,” said Lashley.


The Minister told those gathered that Government will soon be completing the preliminary work towards making the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium a solar-powered facility. The high cost of electricity has driven up the rental cost of the gymnasium to such an extent that most of the sports associations simply cannot afford to stage events there.


“The reduction in electricity costs will undoubtedly result in lower rental rates. But this is just one aspect of a major refurbishment initiative to be undertaken at the Gymnasium which, when completed, would attract greater use of the facility for local, regional and international events. It would also place the Gymnasium within the global chain in Barbados’ sports tourism thrust,” said Lashley. (PG)



Category/ies:Barbados News, News.
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