CARIFTA GAMES 2021: NACAC team highlights observations of Leonora track
The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) team, which wrapped up a two-day, fact-finding mission in Guyana ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2021 CARIFTA Games, has recommended some structural changes to the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora.
General Secretary of the body, Keith Joseph, on Thursday outlined what the team encountered during a site visit on Wednesday. Joseph and NACAC President Mike Sands were accompanied on the visit by members of the local committee and the Athletics Association of Guyana.
Joseph, highlighting the issues the team observed, noted that it is not normal for the long jump and triple jump pit to be located where it is, that is in the ‘D’. It is, according to Joseph, normally located along the 100m straight or on the back straight.
“The spectators don’t get a very good view; if you’re in the main stand you’re getting the backside of the athlete so you can’t really make a judgement call, and spectators like to see it sideways so they can in fact, among themselves, say that’s an average 7.5…As it is now, you’re seeing the athlete running away from you,” Joseph reasoned.
“Also where it is located means there’s a problem- you have to wait to ensure there is no track events at the same time because athletes usually run off out of the pit, certainly in their warm-up, and trying to get their marks established where they want to start their run.”
The warm-up area for athletes also needs to be completed, Joseph revealed, nothing that while the location is not ideal, it is something they can work with.
“You also don’t have enough of an area for javelin practice, so it would mean necessarily having to have the athletes come out much earlier to do their preparation. So instead of the normal one hour you probably have to bring them out two hours before because they would not have had any area within the compound that allows them to safely engage in the practice of the javelin,” Joseph explained.
On the positive side, Joseph believes there is more than enough space to effect the necessary changes ahead of the Games to be hosted during the Easter period next year.
“Given the number of people coming in you may want to put bleachers, temporary or otherwise, along the back straight or at the turn coming off the 200m…because people want to be able to see as much of the event as possible, and we anticipate, given that it is vacation time, you’re going to have young students who want to come to the event and the more students you have coming the more impactful it will be in terms of the legacy for track and field in the area,” Joseph stated.
Approximately 1,500 persons are expected from over 25 participating nations, among them athletes, team officials, technical officials and NACAC and IAAF representatives.
“It’s not just a sporting event, but it is a sport tourism event. Therefore, if it is well done, (it will have) a significant impact on the economy of Guyana,” Joseph noted.
The team has urged that the Local Organising Committee is fully resourced in terms of the delegating of roles and responsibilities, as they would be making follow-up visits to ensure Guyana is on track to host the mega event.