By Neto Baptiste
Former national track athlete and coach, Evans Jones believes that after completion, the YASCO Sports Complex should be off limits to members of the public.
Jones, noting that YASCO is the country’s lone track & field facility, said that for its preservation and for the safety of those athletes training at the complex, residents should not be allowed to exercise at the venue.
“We have gotten into a lot of physical fights with athletes running into people, athletes running from dogs, athletes running into people pushing their little children in prams on the track. It is not a walking facility and this is just my view, which I will stand besides without fear or favour. It is the only facility that we have and presently there is no YASCO but because of Covid-19, we have seen so many people on the roads hiking, walking around the stadium. I go to Hawksbill every day and if you see the amount of persons walking down there,” he said.
“I think it is only fair that we look at it from that perspective, that it is the only track that we have and like Casey said, we should not even be training on it every day,” he added.
The debate is one that dates back many years as there have been many complaints as to how members of the public would treat the facility whenever they utilise it.
There have been reports of individuals riding their bikes on the track while others have reportedly walked their dogs at the Old Parham Road facility.
Pushback has, however, come from another former national athlete and coach, Carl Casey, who believes a compromise could be reached that would allow members of the public access to the venue.
“I think everything is about education and before YASCO is even finished, there is this conflict [about] who is going to be in charge. I’ve been to a few track meets and I have seen walkers and I have seen athletes [co-exist]. Everything is about education so put up signs because I am not going to say they should allow walkers; all I am going to say is that you just need to educate the public and if you educate the public, I think everybody can work together as one,” he said.
Work at YASCO was halted in late March after the technicians hired by US-based track building company, Mondo, were forced to lead the country ahead of port closures, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is still unclear as to when work will resume.