Work on the track at the National Stadium is scheduled to begin next Monday, August 13.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, who further revealed that the work would cost about $2.5 million and would be done over a four-month period, barring any unforeseen occurrences.

Mr. Lashley told the local media yesterday shortly before leaving for London that "all things being equal, such as the weather, we expect a completion by the end of December or early January".

He continued: "This would allow the athletic season to go ahead without any disruption… The work is not simply the removal of the top surface. Civil works have to be done because of the problems that would have been caused when the track, in its original state, was improperly laid.

"We are not simply re-laying the track, we are going to do some drainage correction, repairs to the bathrooms and other facilities at the stadium and work with the football field, which will necessitate the laying of pipe underneath the field. We are talking about a fairly major disruption of the stadium and that is why we had to ensure that whatever we did would not disrupt the activities."

The Minister insisted that work on the track, which was to be done last year, had to be delayed because other things had to be done. "We had to look at the existing angles of the track. The track apparently, years ago, was laid incorrectly in terms of certain critical angles and what that has meant is that you could not record an internationally recorded time at the National Stadium."

He explained that as a result of this development, the Ministry, through the National Sports Council (NSC), consulted with the stakeholders and they were brought up to speed on what had transpired in relation to the track.

"We had to postpone … because we had to get those angles correct. Additional work had to be done to the drawings for the civil works, mainly because of the drainage and the shifting of the track slightly to the east to accommodate the 110m hurdles starting point. That starting point we found to be very close to the cycling track and this meant that we had to go back to the drawing board and go back to the Ministry of Finance in order to find the additional finances required to facilitate the laying of the track," he contended.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that the NSC had repaired all of the faulty areas of the track for this year’s schools’ sports. He added that officials of MONDO, the company contracted to re-lay the track, had remarked about its relatively good condition.

He stated: "If work had started late last year after we concluded the preliminaries and so on, this would have meant that there would have been no athletic season in Barbados at all."

The Minister noted that Government had continued to give significant financial assistance to athletes to help them prepare for all major games and he lauded the athletes for their spirit.


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