By Neto Baptiste
Members of the public will not be allowed to utilise the recently refurbished YASCO Sports Complex for exercise or recreational purposes.
This is according to President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) Everton Cornelius, who is also a member of the management committee overseeing the day to day running of the facility.
However, he said the decision is a short-term one taking into consideration the threats posed by the ongoing pandemic.
“Presently, that’s what it is going to be. I don’t know about the future but for right now it is only going to be accessed by the athletes. Our position doesn’t really allow us to accommodate the public at this time so it is going to be exclusively track and field until any further decision is made; [but] from my perspective I don’t really see it changing and I don’t see the need to change it either. It is the only facility we have, it’s a certified track and we don’t want to have any and everybody to be using it; you have to protect it as much we can,” he said.
There had been much debate over public access to the facility with most individuals agreeing that the venue, which is the country’s lone track, should remain exclusive to athletes.
The YASCO Sports Complex reopened to the athletes just over two months ago following the laying of a Mondo surface.
Cornelius revealed that the association is still awaiting the official documentation indicating that the track is certified by the sport’s international governing body.
“I am still working on a couple of things I need to send to them. I sent off some stuff last week but the guy [Mondo technician] wrote me back and said he needs some further information, so I have that information to send off to him now. From where we [the athletics association] stand, the track is basically certified but before he [the technician] gives us a document he just wants to make sure we have these things and they are in place,” he said.
In March, the Ministry of Sports announced a five-member committee that will manage the affairs of the track and field facility. The committee, which is being headed by Cleofoster Harris, also comprises Cliff Williams from the NOC, Director of Sports Heather Samuel-Daley, Michael Freeland and Cornelius who represents the association.