Bailey Believes YASCO’s Absence Affecting Athletes

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By Neto Baptiste

The absence of a usable track & field facility has stymied the development of the country’s young athletes.

This is the belief of former national sprinter, Daniel “Bakka” Bailey, who said recent performances by junior athletes on the regional and international scenes is a direct result of locally-based athletes not being able to utilise the country’s lone track & field facility, the YASCO Sports Complex.

“At the end of the day we need a track and it doesn’t matter who is running fast or who is running slow because, for example, you’re going to have athletes coming up who would want to do track and field and perform well in track and field to represent their country and we can’t have the athletes here running on grass and roads. We need a proper facility to help athletes perform at their true potential so they can go to the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Pan Am Games to represent Antigua well,” he said. 

The facility has been closed to the public for almost a year while upgrades are being carried out on both the surface and surrounding amenities.

The ongoing project has forced the sports ministry to cancel its annual inter-schools championships for two consecutive years.

Bailey said the inter-schools competition is what fuels young athletes and that without it, some could lose the drive to remain with their training routines.

“Everybody tries to train and gear themselves up for inter-schools … it is just like in Jamaica with Champs where all these kids are training towards Champs. When you have something to look forward to then you prepare yourself for it but if there is no inter-schools they will still train but they will not train to their full potential, so to me it’s a mental thing,” he said.

Reports are that work at YASCO could be completed within months and the track re-opened to both athletes and the general public before the end of the year.

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