By Neto Baptiste
Residents wishing to utilise the YASCO track and field facility upon completion of ongoing rehabilitation work there, will be charged a fee to do so.
This was confirmed by President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, who said the body would need to put measures in place to ensure the facility is not overused and that rules will be implemented to govern both athletes and members of the public who utilise the track.
“In many places, people like to run in lanes one and two but those lanes will be closed most of the times so you would have to use the outer lanes to train so at least we can preserve the integrity of the track. In terms of usage to the public, that is something we would probably have to sit down and discuss. We are looking at it to see if we could give the public and hour per week or if it’s possible as it depends on what is going on. These are some of the things we have been debating back and forth,” he said.
“From the athletics association’s point of view, once the public is going to use the facility and we give that green light, they will have to pay because we need to control the movement of people in and out of YASCO,” he added.
YASCO, the country’s lone track and field facility, has been closed to both athletes and members of the public for over two years as work is being carried out to lay an internationally recognised surface while adding a few events previously unavailable to the country’s athletes.
Cornelius said they simply cannot allow the usual free-for-all approach to continue.
“It has to be monitored; it cannot be an open sesame and everybody comes in and use the track as they so desire. We have already started putting in place these things and it’s not just since because we are getting YASCO but it is something we have been looking at since we’ve had the original surface to see exactly the things we need to put in place to make sure we can preserve what we have, and if we get maximum use out of it over the coming years,” he said. Cornelius had said that the facility is nearing completion and that representatives from US-based track building company, Mondo, are expected on island shortly and will commence the laying of the surface. The engineer suggested that it would take about six weeks from that start of laying the surface to completion.