Synthetic track is welcomed
The adding of a synthetic track to the sporting facilities stock of St Vincent and the Grenadines is imminent.
The $4 million facility, constructed by the government of SVG, is almost completed.
As part of the overall package, the track provides for field events such as the high jump, long jump, triple jump, steeplechase, hammer throw, shot putt, javelin and discus.
The facilities for track and field are complemented by a full sized football field.
But the track’s completion has been a long haul of wait, despair, and sometimes a feeling of false hope.
There were the nay sayers, even when in January of this year, government revealed its intention to commence the construction of the track.
Reality stepped in when work started with some fast pace, and things began to take shape in a feverish manner.
Now that promise has been finally realised, thus placing St Vincent and the Grenadines in a better place, as it relates to track and field, the race is on to make meaning of that facility.
First and foremost, Vincentians have to cherish the facility, for which they have been clamouring, for a long time now.
Having that sense of pride and ownership is the beginning of the care of the track that is so vitally important for longevity.
It is pointless to expend that amount of money from the national purse, then leave it to deteriorate.
This brings into focus the need for the authorities to start looking meticulously at a well-planned maintenance framework.
This too will be an additional financial burden, however a stitch in time saves nine.
We have to learn from others in the region who have built such facilities, but did not factor in the continuous upkeep cost, and have been left to now make some major overhaul following years of depreciation.
Of importance to the upkeep of the track at Diamond is the need for public education.
The synthetic track brings in some way, a sort of novelty to Vincentians, and with it as well, some ignorance.
Therefore, it behooves those in authority to get their act together and begin to enlighten the population on the use of such a facility.
This is critical as such facilities are to be handled with some care.
Use of a synthetic track has its dos and don’ts, and there must be clear messages sent to the population as early as possible and with some level of frequency to ensure education reaches the right people.
That public relations process should also entail the reality that a track does not mean immediate success, such as Commonwealth, Olympics and World Championships medals.
Needing to play a role in this regard are the many trained track and field coaches that the country possesses.
They have to let their charges know of the purpose of the track, training cycles and the likes.
So as we prepare to usher in a new era in the sporting annals of St Vincent and the Grenadines, it is opportune for us to put the necessary structures, personnel and plans in place to ensure that we maximise the Diamond facility.
Therefore, after the fanfare, the grand opening, the blessings; the praise for those with the political will, and who kept the facility in the line of vision to get done, the journey would have just begun.