By Neto Baptiste
Although welcoming news for the planned building of a pool that would be made available to the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), head of the organisation Dr Derek Marshall said the body’s limited involvement is not ideal.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo sports show, Marshall revealed that he was first brought up to speed on the government’s plans to build a pool in Tomlinson at a meeting held last week.
“We would have liked to be involved from the beginning, yes, but at this point in time, I don’t think there is anything cast in stone and it’s a good thing that we have been called in at this point in time, to give more insight into what is required, so hopefully, based on that, a good product can come out of this,” he said.
Sports minister, Daryll Matthew, announced last week that plans, inclusive of drawings for a pool, were awaiting DCA approval. The announcement came on the heels of the country’s triumph at the OECS Swimming Championships held in St Lucia.
Marshall said that he was invited to a meeting by Matthew where he was informed of the government’s plans.
“I had a meeting with the minister last week, discussing some of the details of the pool in terms of the requirements and so on, and we asked for more involvement going forward. We also talked with the architect involved with the project because the pool that is designated for Tomlinson, I wouldn’t say it is going to be delivered into the hands of the Swimming Federation per se, but they told us we’ll have access to the pool and so on,” the swimming boss said.
Despite the lack of consultation however, Marshall welcomes the initiative as one that could revolutionise the sport, adding that it has been a long time coming.
“If they called me early in the morning and I had to go, I would go, because if it’s something to do with the promotion of swimming or the development of swimming, we need the pool for that. I think this is the best foot forward since I’ve been there. In terms of engaging the government over the many years, and based on what we’ve been through, this is the best or the furthest that we’ve gotten,” he said.
The promised Olympic-size pool will bring relief to the Swimming Federation after they were displaced last year having lost access to the pool at the former Athletic Club located in Coolidge.