By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) Everton Cornelius, said news that the YASCO Sports Complex has been internationally certified as a Class 2 Athletics Facility will now allow the body to spread its wings beyond the country’s shores.
This he hinted, could start as early as next year as the country is in line to host the OECS Track & Field Championships
“This really hinges on the fact of once we have seating inside of YASCO, because it is my understanding that we are the ones who should be hosting the OECS Championships next season. So how we would really go through with that, from my perspective, really hinges on the fact that seating must be in place for us to do that because I don’t think you could bring most of our top athletes here for the OECS meet and we do not have any seating to hold our patrons who come to support us at such event,” he said.
Cornelius, who spoke with Observer media from Tokyo, Japan where he is representing the athletics association, said it would however take some time and work before the venue is allowed to host international meets.
“I don’t think I had any doubts in my mind that we would have gotten the certification. I think we did everything that we should have done to make sure this would go through smoothly and as mi said before I think it was just a matter of how speedily they could actually deal with all of the different entities that they had to deal with before the track could be certified and we were forewarned anyway that it would have taken some time for it to be done,” he said.
Despite the quantum of work needed to bring the venue to international standards, Cornelius said he never doubted that the facility would have been given the nod by World Athletics.
“It would take a while before we get international meets but for now, we can plan our regional meets and national meets with no fear that times ran at the track would not be recognized by the world body so just for that alone, I think it creates enough excitement amongst the athletics fraternity in Antigua,” the athletics head said.
The second phase in the redevelopment of YASCO would involve the erection of stands, a perimeter fence around the track and bathroom and changing facilities. Reports also indicate that the body is currently looking at the installation of a warm-up track.