By Neto Baptiste
Efforts were made between the late ‘70s and early ‘80s to construct a velodrome (an arena for track cycling) here in Antigua, and although drawings were completed and submitted to the government at the time, the dream was a bit too ambitious for the pockets of those involved.
This is the story of former national cyclist and one of the country’s first Olympians Patrick Spencer who, while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, recounted that between 1979 and 1980, there was a movement to spearhead the erection of a velodrome on the northern end of the island.
“We got some drawings from an American, a young gentleman, regarding a possible velodrome with a football field inside, very much like Barbados and like Trinidad, and I would have loved to have seen that come through. It was really part of my dream and we were working towards it and I thought I looked at an area somewhere in Langford,” he said.
Spencer, who was part of a 10-man team to the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal, Canada, said that at the end of the day, funding for the project was not forthcoming and the initiative never got off the ground.
“Like everything else, it was proposed but after that you know what the usual thing is which is funding. Who is going to fund it? But the idea was that with proper management and regular competition we could have maintained it, maybe not in full but at least in part,” he said.
The other members of the 1976 Olympic team were Calvin Greenaway (sprinter), Conrad Mainwaring (hurdles), Cuthbert Jacobs(sprinter), Elroy Turner (sprinter), Everton Cornelius (sprinter), Fred Sowerby (400 meters), Maxell Peters (triple jump), Paul Richards(sprinter) and Donald Christian (cycling).