Jamaica's sports minister said gov't 'really wanted World Relays'

By September 27, 2018
Jamaica's sports minister Olivia Grange (right) said the country really wanted to host the 2019 World Relays but it was too soon to do it well. Jamaica's sports minister Olivia Grange (right) said the country really wanted to host the 2019 World Relays but it was too soon to do it well.

Jamaican government really wanted to host the IAAF World Relays in 2019 but it would have been too soon, Jamaica's sports minister has said. 

Many Jamaicans were disappointed when news broke recently that Jamaica had failed in its bid to land the World Relays that has been hosted by the Bahamas since its inception in 2015. The Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) in its defence, said the bid did not get timely financial backing from the government. However, Jamaica’s Minister of Sports, Olivia Grange, explained that Jamaica simply was not ready to take on an event of that magnitude at this point when the government is in the process of upgrading its sports infrastructure.

“We have put plans in place to improve and maintain our sport infrastructure in a major way. A submission to resurface and upgrade the Stadium East facilities is now at Cabinet for sign off. We have just completed the procurement process and have selected a consultant who will prepare the business plan for the National Stadium,” Minister Grange said during Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony for a US$600,000 synthetic playing surface at the Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence in Kingston.

 She also revealed that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has instructed that they fast-track the redevelopment of the National Stadium.

“For the National Stadium, we are now going to be moving quickly into the design stage. Once it’s complete most of the stadium will be covered and we will have good anti-doping facilities, proper dressing rooms, gym and all the other equipment that you will find in a first world facility,” the sports minister said.

She explained afterwards that work has to be done on these facilities before Jamaica could even begin to consider hosting an international event of the magnitude of the World Relays.

“We are hoping to do the World Relays in 2021. We really wanted to do it in 2019, we were in serious discussions with the IAAF and the JAAA. We made every effort but when we looked at the logistics, the timing, and to be very practical, why try to do this hastily when we can build something very efficient and very effective at the proper pace rather than try to rush something and not be able to do it as well,” the minister reasoned.

“We were ambitious and we all wanted to make it happen – myself and Lord (Sebastien) Coe, we discussed and looked at it at the point that we were and felt that the lead time may not be sufficient for us to do a good job.”

However, until the next opportunity there is still a lot of work to be done, the minister said.

Her ministry will be meeting with the consultant in the near future to discuss the business plan as well as the architectural design of the new-look stadium that will shape the upgrading of the national stadium over the next three years.

“We are hoping that once we have done the design and developed the business plan then we can move quickly to the first phase of the actual development and we will have to time it in a way that we will be ready for the new season,” she said.

“We always bear in mind, Champs, (ISSA Boys and Girls Champs), so whatever do we have to structure it in a way that it doesn’t interrupt that cycle of the new track and field season.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She also said that the Ministry is in discussion with partners for the redevelopment of the Chedwin Park cricket ground as well as the Drax Hall and Prison Oval football facilities.

“We are into a very exciting time for sports development.  Let us all work together to take sports in Jamaica to greater heights with opportunities for all,” the Minister said.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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