Track ‘will be ready’

The Ryan Brathwaite Track at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex will be ready just in time for next year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC) and National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championships (NAPSAC).

This assurance was given by head of the Academy of Sport at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, Dr Rudolph Alleyne who confirmed the surface will be prepared and completed by the end of January.

His commitment should quell concerns surrounding the availability and usage of the track for the upcoming hectic track and field season.

“We’re in the process of getting the stuff to renew the track out of Germany, so we anticipate that by January, by the end of January latest, we should be ready,” he said, while outlining the similarities between repairing a track and laying a new one at the Paradise Park venue in St Michael.

“It’s the same thing. The thing about putting down a new track is that you have to do all the infrastructure and all the work underneath. Once the track is there and the infrastructure is there, all you need to do then is take off the top layer of the track and replace it with a new layer, and it’s going to be like a brand new track all over again,” said the sports psychologist, who holds a doctorate in kinesiology.

“The way how tracks are done is that you have a couple of layers that go underneath and then the top two layers are the two layers that you replace once all that other infrastructure is in there, so it will be a new track basically once all the work is done,” said Alleyne.

No other repairs will be carried out at the facility which opened its gates in 2015, and seats 1 000 spectators across two stands named after the country’s 100-metre Olympic bronze medallist Obadele Thompson, and Grenadian 400-metre Olympic and World champion Kirani James.

“No, it’s just mainly the track because the stands are as they are, so it’s just the track that will be redone and should be ready for we hope by the end of January,” said Alleyne who agreed that athletes will get to enjoy their season.

“We shouldn’t have any issues in terms of BSSAC because BSSAC is usually in March so it should be done well before March.”

The UWI lecturer and head of department anticipates schools will also be able to have their annual sports at the complex.

“Yes, yes, as I said we’re aiming latest the end of January to have it finished, and from there on in, schools and BSSAC and NAPSAC should be able to have their sports.”

Alleyne however disagreed with the notion that the heavy utilisation of the track at last Thursday’s parade celebrating the 57th anniversary of Independence would have caused any issues.

This one-time, but uncommon usage included multiple horses walking along the track, women walking in heels, and even vehicular traffic entering and exiting the proceedings.

“No, no, not at all. We had someone who came in from Germany, and basically the parade wasn’t a problem in terms of what was done on the track so that’s not an issue at all,” said Alleyne.

One of the world’s leading suppliers of sports floors will be carrying out the necessary works on the track.

“It’s the company that laid the track originally, REGUPOL. REGUPOL would’ve been the track that Usain Bolt would’ve broken the world record on. That company is based in Germany. Seeing that the original track was a REGUPOL track, we will go ahead with them again and have them replace it.  As I said, because all the infrastructure and base work is there, they are the ones that will be best-suited to replace the track.”

BSSAC chairperson Althea Belgrave said the committee members are just waiting to see how things will unfold.

“I can’t give a definite answer as to what is going on because we’re still trying to ascertain what the situation is. I’m sure there will definitely be a plan B, but as of right now we are basically planning that we will have the event scheduled for the exact time that we have it for next year.”



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