AAG hopeful for repairs to synthetic track ahead of SA U-23 Championship
With Guyana set to host the South American Under-23 Championship on September 26 and 27, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson, is hopeful a new surface can be laid.
The National Track and Field Facility at Leonora on the West Coast of Demerara, was officially opened April 2015. It is understood the total sum to construct the first of its kind facility in Guyana was just over a G$1 billion.
In 2017, Director of the facility, Trevor Williams, had stated there will be a 200M warm-up strip. A tender was out for $14 million, but construction is yet to start.
Five years on from its completion, the rigours of expected wear and tear have begun to show.
Given the magnitude of the South American Under-23 championships, Hutson hopes during the post-election period, government can allocate funds to do much-needed repair.
“We are really and truly depending heavily on the government to make sure the facility is in good order. We cannot allocate funding for that. We have to depend on the government and its inclination to support sports,” Huston stated in an exclusive interview Wednesday.
“We know the track is not in the best of state and we can do some patch work and have it a little ready. Particularly, we have big issues in the starting areas of the 100m, 200m and 400m where blocked need to be put down in the track. That particular area has shown signs of deterioration so blocks have been slipping at the start.”
He added, “We are hoping for a new surface for September, but it is difficult for the government at this time to do major capital expenditure work knowing what is going with the political impasse in this country with elections, but we are on the mark set, so once elections is completed and the government is elected we can fast track things. From March to September is good enough time to do the works for the championships we want to have.”
AAG had hosted the Under-20 Championships in 2017, and based on reviews, the majority deemed it to be highly successful. This has enthused Hutson of pulling off another successful feat for this championship.
The budget for hosting the championships is close to G$15 million, of which they will receive US$30,000 from the IAAF.
Athletes from all the nations in South America are expected to attend, which according to Huston, means 300 athletes should be in attendance.