Jones: Schools threatened to boycott Inter-schools Championships

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A number of schools had threatened to pull out of this year’s Coca Cola National Inter-schools Track & Field Championships held at the YASCO Sports Complex last weekend.
This was revealed by Assistant Director of Sports and coach, Evans Jones, who said the Ministry of Sports had also contemplated not putting on the annual event after some institutions expressed concerns over the poor condition of the YASCO track.
“We had looked at not having inter-schools this year because I said to Mrs Heather Samuel-Daley that I don’t see us going back to the grass right now and the only grass track that would be suitable for us is up at the stadium. So we just actually started to push it in December [2016] because, to be honest, some schools wanted to boycott because of the facilities at YASCO,” he said.
“I want the public to hear what we are saying here that it was those kind of conditions that we have experienced and the whole operational system within the administrative arm at the office actually started in December,” he added.
Organisers of the meet have recently come under fire for what the public said was “poor planning” leading into the event.
Criticisms were levelled at the “low keyed” promoting of the meet and also the late condemning of stands located on the western end of the facility.
Jones said the recent happenings have strengthened the argument for the upgrading of the facility.
“I actually fell down on that one day. I know the danger it entails. I wasn’t too happy, but so be it. The time has come now for us to look at getting YASCO fully certified as a real stadium so that we can have Carifta and other international games there [and] that is my view on that,” the coach said.
However, the former national athlete said that just having a nice track and no support would still go for naught.
“Yes, it is nice that people can critique us but at the same time we need the support of the whole of Antigua. We need the financial support, the nutritional support, the medical support, and the physiotherapy [support]. Almost every day [athletes] have to be [at] physiotherapy because of the hard surface at YASCO and people must understand these things,” Jones said.
Clare Hall Secondary School captured the boys division of the 2017 championships while the Princess Margaret School repeated as girls champions.

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