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Getting sports back on track

The Ministry of Sports will do “whatever is possible or necessary to ensure” that schools championships take place.

Recently there had been much uncertainty as to whether this year’s National Primary School Athletic Championships and the Barbados Secondary School’s Athletic Championships would be held as a result of the construction delay to the track at the National Stadium.

In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, emphasised his Government’s resolve to address the matter.

He said tomorrow, along with Minister of Eduction, Science Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, they are expected to meet at a “very important” discussion with the various players involved, including the National Sports Council, the organising committees for both games, the Royal Barbados Police Force and the University of the West Indies, “with a view to ensuring that we can pave a way forward for these championships to be held”.

“We are focussed and determined as a Government to ensure that everything is done to allow for the games to be held,” said Lashley as he stressed that they were already some suggestions on the table for alternative venues.

“My intention, along with minister Jones, is to ensure that we clear any hurdles that there are and ensure that the persons who organise the games, that they have no areas of concern or issues… Hopefully at the end of that meeting we will have a clearer view as to where we are going,” he added.

In addition to continued refurbishment of the National Stadium, the Minister said the plan for the facility was to transform it into a “proper” stadium. Having started with the renovation of the track, Lashley said, they wanted to do more changes and enhancements to the stadium which would see it be more relevant in terms of modern sports.

“We also have our sights on a green sight in Boarded Hall, where we want to seek out funding to build a multi-purpose stadium. We have the National Sports Council where we are looking to implement the National Sports Strategic Plan, that is designed to take sports into the realm of an industry and we have some specific plans for a Sports Hall of Fame as well as a high performance centre to boost athletic performance.

“Those are among the strategic areas in sports and of course we plan some new re-engagements of the various sports federations and associations. You would see a more strategic partnership evolving between the Ministry of Sports and the Barbados Olympic Association and National Sports Council because certainly I see that there is room for us to work even closer together as we move forward,” he said. (KC)†††

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