Ball starts rolling on long awaited athletic track
CONSTRUCTION VEHICLES on site at Diamond last Friday, carrying out work on the track
January 28, 2020

Ball starts rolling on long awaited athletic track

Vincentian athletes have been promised a state of the art athletic track in short order, to hone their skills to compete on the world stage.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the athletic track at Diamond took place last Friday, January 24, just two days after being raised in parliament during debate of the 2020 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

A section of the 400-metre track to be constructed at Diamond.

The 400-metre track is designed by Regupol BSW, a company based in Germany that is known for its tracks across the world, including the one constructed for Usain Bolt in Jamaica.

“I shall promise you here and now that we shall deliver, and we shall exceed your expectations. From the day Camillo [Gonsalves, Finance Minister] and we met the first time until now, only six months have passed. We came to terms really quickly, signed the contract, and our engineers custom designed a 400m athletic running track that meets your wishes and needs,” Peter Breuer, the sales director of the company said at Friday’s ceremony.

He thanked the government for putting its trust in Regupol BSW and said the track will carry an official IAAF certification when completed.

Breuer explained that the civil engineering on the site is being carried out by local construction firm, Dipcon Engineering, who is working based on specifications and drawings prepared by the engineers from Regupol.

“…Believe me, we know how athletic crazy you Caribbean people are — and I mean that in a very positive way” the sales director said.

He noted that it was no coincidence that most of the fastest runners in the world are from this region and he praised Caribbean athletes for their extraordinary abilities.

“But to develop into world class athletes, it takes more. A super strong will, sheer endless endurance, the readiness to suffer…and these are just some attributes that world class athletes need, but, what they also need is a first class training facility and that is exactly what we shall be constructing here at this very location,” Breuer said.

The track earmarked to be built at Diamond, will be a full sized, eight-lane running track.

The Regupol representative said all relevant IAAF field events will also be available there including steeplechase, javelin, shot put, hammer and discus, pole vault and long, triple and high jump.
“So therefore, athletes of St Vincent and the Grenadines, bear with us. We are not far away from completing this track. We shall soon be finished. We are preparing the grounds for you to go to the top of the world,” he said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves (second from right), sports minister, Cecil McKie (right), Regupol BSW representative, Peter Breuer (second from left) and area representative, Frederick Stephenson (left) taking part in the sod-turning at the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

Sports minister, Cecil Mckie said the athletic track is a national project.

He noted that a national sports stadium has been in the manifesto of the Unity Labour Party since the mid-2000s but had to be pushed back when there was a global economic meltdown in 2007/2008.

“…and the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines explained to the nation that we had to put the stadium project on hold, despite the fact that we had done phase one, which was the levelling of this area and putting in the drainage,” McKie said.

He added that while the project was on hold, it has always been on the government’s list of projects to be delivered to the people.

The sports minister said that the government is well on the way to completing the athletic track and football field and he called on athletes to be ready for when it is commissioned, hopefully by the middle of this year.

And McKie, with running shoes hanging around his neck, referenced his days as a star athlete at the St Vincent Grammar School stating that he will be the first to run on the completed athletic track.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Frederick Stephenson, Parliamentary Representative for the South Windward Constituency in which Diamond is located, also delivered remarks at Friday’s event before participating in a sod-turning ceremony with McKie and Breuer on the site.