Ticking those must boxes
On Target
May 15, 2020

Ticking those must boxes

St Vincent and the Grenadines has placed a tick in another of the boxes, as it relates the prerequisties for becoming a host for major sporting events.

Three years ago, we saw the commissioning of the Argyle International Airport.

At present, that national infrastructure stock is getting a much needed addition, with the construction of the Diamond track facility.

A long-awaited promise, the Diamond Track Facility, is taking shape and is moving with full speed ahead.

An undertaking of the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines at the cost of $4 million, the planned facility includes the much needed 400m synthetic track, coupled with provisions for field events, such as the discus, shot putt, javelin, high jump, long jump, triple jump, steeple chase, hammer throw and pole vault.

Also in place will be a full sized football field, dressing and wash rooms, a bleacher with a capacity of about 1,800 persons, a grass bank or mound, parking lot, among other amenities.

So it is now more that just a dream that this country will finally realise such a facility for our track and field athletes, as well as footballers.

But before we can start to rejoice and be optimistic of the prospects, those who are integrally involved in the construction of the facility have to get it right from the get go.

They have to ensure that all the standards are met and adequately suit those who are placed to certify it as a venue worthy of hosting regional and international meets.

This may be the first hurdle that must be cleared before we harbour thoughts of looking further down the road.

Staying hopeful that the facility makes the grade, and despite we are still in the toddler construction phase, it would not hurt us to be proactive, and begin to think of the other phases, which are equally important.

We are thankful that a synthetic track in motion, but a track without lighting means that we would be restricted to meets only to be staged during the daylight hours.

Lighting is a major plus if we are to attract competitions beyond the local events.

Aware that the lighting is in the works for the other stages, St Vincent and the Grenadines would be at a disadvantage, when it comes to the bidding process for such inter-regional meets.

St Vincent and the Grenadines has found itself on the wrong side of history for not acting with the future in mind.

We are paying the price for our failure to pay attention to the demands of hosting major international cricket matches and not attending to the needs of the Arnos Vale Playing Field, and today we have to be contented with the crumbs that fall.

To the policymakers and holders of the national purse, get cracking and face the reality head on.

We are aware that the present coronavirus pandemic would pose some added crises of planning optimistically to place ourselves in good stead when the task of bidding comes before us.

So as we harbour thoughts of hosting regional and international track meets with the category two type synthetic track, the other boxes must be ticked as well.

Even if the aforementioned lighting of the Diamond Track Facility is done, there are attending synergies that have to be at the ready.

It would be mandatory for us to get the number of hotel rooms to suffice the expected number of athletes, coaches, media, officials, parents and other well wishers.

Of critical importance, has to be our transportation system. That too, has to be administered and executed in an efficacious manner.

So, as Vincentians and the region eagerly await the completion of the Diamond Track Facility, the various government arms and ministries should be already strategising and having their eyes fixed on making a bid to have the Junior Carifta Games here in the shortest possible time.