Feasibility study ongoing for athletics facility
– Government, AAG engaged in discussions
By Edison Jefford
The absence of a synthetic athletics facility was identified as the biggest bugbear to local athletes’ development time immemorial, but that could change with fresh revelations that a feasibility study is currently ongoing for such a project.
Acting on an insider leak, Kaieteur Sport was reliably informed that the leaderships of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) and Government are actively engaged in “talks” over the erection of a modern synthetic facility.
“We are currently looking at the existing facilities at Uitvlugt [like] if it’s large enough to facilitate the [competition] track, warm-up facility, stands and parking.
We are doing the feasibility study to assess these,” the source indicated.
The availability of proper venues has tremendously affected the growth of track and field athletes to the point where several of them seek other Caribbean countries to hone their skills and abilities for international and regional meets.
The disparity between preparations on grass tracks and synthetic tracks is annually noted with the performances of local athletes. Guyana is among three other regional countries without an accredited synthetic athletics facility.
This newspaper understands that AAG official and qualified engineer, Charles Griffith is leading the feasibility study that is currently at a preparatory and consultation phase. The official has apparently already produced a drawing.
“We understand that the Uitvlugt Ground used to be a dump site so we have to look at the toxic waste and environmental situation. We have to see whether it is suitable for athletes to be actively engaged in sport,” the informant confided.
According to reliable information, the drawing Griffith produced includes a cycling track and football field. The intention is to have a multi-purpose facility that is accessible to the other sport disciplines and national associations.
“We are not sure if Government will buy in owing to cost factors but we’re doing what is necessary and we are meeting with them regularly,” the source said, adding that there are still lots of work to be done in the preparatory phase.
It was initially rumoured that the Uitvlugt ground would be handed over to the AAG as a means of distribution of GuySuCo-managed facilities. Cricket was already granted control of East Coast’s La Bonne Intention (LBI) ground.
“They [Government] did not indicate that the ground would be handed over to the AAG, because if problems arise we still have to look at other alternatives. The Government will take over the Community Centre from GuySuCo,” the source informed.
In that regard, this newspaper has learnt that it is a collaborative effort between the AAG and Government to establish the facility. “They [Government] wants to work with the AAG to establish a facility,” the informant indicated.
The source said that the Government and AAG are to meet soon where final proposals on the path forward could be presented. If the presentation of draft documents proves to be a reality then infrastructural decisions should follow.