Athletics association head wants ‘something done about YASCO’

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President of the Antigua & Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, has lamented the state of the country’s lone track & field facility even as a number of the country’s top senior athletes have opted out of this weekend’s national championships.
Cornelius, speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, said the association has been bombarded with inquiries from neighbouring islands as to why they are not invited to Antigua’s national championships, adding that it is time for something to be done to the YASCO Sports Complex.
“I hope we can have some movement where the track is concerned by the middle of August so at least, we could have a track for next season. If we do not have a track next season then I do not know what is going to happen because we are having some challenges when it comes to going to other people’s territory,” he said.
“Everybody is looking at Antigua now because it is since some time in 1990 when Antigua had put themselves up to host the Carifta event and it never materialised. People are saying to us now that you have just been traveling out to all these meets in different places and it’s time enough that Antigua does something and start inviting people up to participate in Antigua,” he added.
Responding to reports that government is considering a recommendation that a new facility be erected for track & field, Cornelius dismissed the notion, stating that it is more feasible to invest in the upgrading of the existing structure at YASCO.
“If I am asking for $3 or $4 million to resurface and get YASCO certified, put in seating, fix the toilets and get the track certified and I can’t get that to do what we have to do, then am I going to get $10 or $15 million to do a new stadium? That is the question I need to ask,” the president said.
“Let us go with what we have right now. YASCO is at a more central location, it serves all the schools well and the east bus station and the west bus station are within walking distance to YASCO so I think it serves our purpose right now,” he added.
The national championships is slated for Saturday and Sunday and with most of the country’s senior athletes like Daniel Bailey, Cejhae Greene, Chevaughn Walsh and Tahir Walsh opting out of the championships, it is expected to be a low-keyed event.
Cornelius said a number of noteworthy athletes have confirmed their participation.
“Who we have on the ground right now with us is we have Jared Jarvis, Richard Richardson and a few other senior athletes who are just locally based here at home. We have about 80 per cent of the junior athletes participating and about 60 per cent of the youths taking part in the national championships,” he said.
The National Championships will start at 2 pm on both days and is free to the public.

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