National champions on despite track concerns

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The Antigua & Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) will be pressing ahead with plans to host its National Track & Field Championships despite concerns over conditions at the country’s lone track, the YASCO Sports Complex.
President of the association, Everton Cornelius, said the meet will be held on 8 and 9 July but adds that the probability of it being scaled down is highly likely.
“We don’t have any seating at YASCO. Its standing room and we are going to have the national championships. It’s going to be a free event and people can come and stand and watch the event if they so desire but we will go ahead and complete our calendar of events for the rest of the year. We’ll probably have a limited amount of events but we’ll still have the event over a two-day period because that’s the way it’s set up in the programme and I think people are looking forward to that,” he said.
Last year, senior sprinter Daniel Bailey, pulled out of the nationals citing concerns over the condition of the track. There was doubt over whether this year’s championships would materialize as a number of athletes had vowed to not compete on the track.
Cornelius said athletes have committed to competing this year.
“Our athletes will take part in our national championships because our athletes always look forward to take part in whatever we are doing in terms of whatever events we are having so I don’t think we will have a problem with the athletes. I think that we are having it a bit late so I don’t know what amount of athletes we will have participating but it is something that we must have and we are going to have it,” the president said.
A number of top athletes including sprinters Cejhae Greene, Chevaughn Walsh, Tahir Walsh and Bailey may miss next month’s event.
The government has committed to replacing the surface and upgrading other amenities at the facility but are yet to identify a date as to when work will commence.

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