By Neto Baptiste
The country’s lone track and field facility, the YASCO Sports Complex, should be renamed in honour of former sprinter and national record holder in the 100 meters, Daniel “Bakka” Bailey.
The call was made by Member of Parliament for the St Mary’s South Constituency, Kelvin ‘Shugy’ Simon, during his contribution to the budget debate in parliament on Tuesday.
“Mention was made also of Daniel ‘Bakka’ Bailey and rightfully so I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves. I am proposing to this government that you rename YASCO after Daniel ‘Bakka’ Bailey and give credit where credit is due. He is the national record holder for Antigua and Barbuda may I remind you. What does YASCO stand for and who is it representing? Name it after Bakka,” he said.
Bailey holds the national record in the 100 meters sprint of 9.91 seconds which he achieved at the Areva Meeting in Saint-Denis, France on 17 July, 2009. Bailey was second to Jamaican Usain Bolt who won in 9.79 seconds. The Antiguan finished ahead of Yohan Blake, also of Jamaica, who was third in 9.93 seconds.
Simon also noted the government’s failure to erect adequate seating and other infrastructure at the facility.
“The first thing that struck me as I walked into YASCO was that all the spectators were standing as there were no seating capacity for spectators. How can you have a national track & field meet and have no seating for people to sit on? For an elderly person like yourself, Mr Speaker, if you decided to take your family there you’d have to stand for five hours at our so called national track and field stadium, so tell me how does that speak to putting priority to sport?” Simon asked.
Not only was the seating arrangement not there Mr Speaker, but there were no proper bathroom facilities. Portable toilets were out there for people to use,” he added.
The first time MP, known for his involvement in sports both as a player and spectator, believes the facility has the potential of being more than just a training ground for local athletes.
“It’s about time we start to host Carifta Games. Little St Kitts can, so why can’t we? We boast about how good the country is doing so why can’t we have an opportunity to host those games and why are we not investing in the infrastructure that would allow us to host those games?” Simon said.
Bailey won the bronze medal in the 60 metres at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships when he clocked 6.57 seconds, becoming Antigua’s first ever medallist in the event.
He has represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.