Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Oval option


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THE MECCA OF CRICKET could become this season’s home for athletics.
Kensington Oval has now overtaken the Ryan Brathwaite Track as Plan B for the National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championships (NAPSAC) zone meets if work on the National Stadium track is not completed by next month.
NAPSAC assistant chairman Richmark Cave confirmed the association’s decision to go with the Oval after realising the complications that would be encountered by staging a major meet at the Ryan Brathwaite Track.
“After touring the facility we recognised we will have big concerns because it only facilitates six lanes, and that obviously won’t be enough for the number of athletes we have for each event,” Cave explained.
“And the stands really can’t accommodate the large number of spectators we have attracted to our meets over the years.”
“So we had a site visit with Kensington around mid-December and a walk-through of the facilities and we are certain that with some minor adjustments we can comfortably go with Kensington once the Stadium isn’t ready,” he added.
It’s just the latest in a long-line of non-cricketing events to target the Oval for use following the successful exploits of hockey, football, stunt-biking and entertainment shows.
And the possibility of Kensington hosting athletics again – just as it did in the 1960s – appears likelier with each passing day as repairs at the National Stadium have yet to be completed while the February 25 athletics start draws nearer.
“We still have our dates scheduled for the National Stadium but we also recognise that the Stadium is still under repair so we have our plan B ready just in case,” said Cave.
“I recently heard on the news that the Stadium was only going to be ready in time for our March 26 finals, but that was only what I heard over the news, so we are waiting until we meet with the National Sports Council and get their official word this week before we make any definitive position.”
Last week, the NAPSAC executive issued a release revealing the dates for the Obadele Thompson (February 25), Patsy Callender (February 26), Andrea Blackett (February 27), Anton Norris (February 28) and Jim Wedderburn (March 1) zone meets slated for the National Stadium.
According to the release, those dates will remain the same, even if the National Stadium is not available.
Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley has said that work at the National Stadium “should be completed by the end of February” after revealing that the contractors worked over the Christmas period to ensure the civil works would be expedited.
Cave also revealed the first-time introduction of a quarterfinal round, scheduled for March 12 at the National Stadium or March 19 at Kensington.


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