Sunday, February 25, 2018

Manny Ramjohn to be ready for football in October



Mark Fraser

Football returns to the Manny Ramjohn Stadium mid-October.

While track and field teams resumed their training on April 6 after the Marabella facility had been shut down for 26 months to relay the surface of the track, football activity has not resumed to date.

The two outside practice pitches and the main field continue out of commission as the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) facilities manager Anthony Blake said the company is allowing the grass to properly take root before they allow use by football and rugby teams.

“We really want the grass on the field to grow thicker so that when teams and players use it, it could withstand that usage,” Blake told the Express yesterday.

Blake added that there has been high demand for the practice pitches and the main field of the Manny Ramjohn Stadium  by south teams, and that the re-drainage and re-planting had been 100 per cent completed.

The facilities manager said contractors had solved the flooding of the track and field and the delay  for the track and field surface was because of an unusually lengthy rainy season last year that continued into January this year.

Blake added that the completion of works at the Manny Ramjohn was part of a wider project of field infrastructure improvement throughout the country, including the Hasely Crawford and Larry Gomes stadiums, which will be outfitted with a blue track seen at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships last July.  

He said the official opening of the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, now 100 per cent ready  with an IAAF Class One blue track, is scheduled for next month when the ofiicial IAAF certificate will be handed over. 

Last September, national track and field coach and head coach of the Simplex Athletic Club, Gunness Persad had complained that the failure of the Ministry of Sport and SPORTT to act swiftly in relaying the track at the Manny Ramjohn had dried up the talent pool, robbing the country of futurestars. He also had said clubs had incurred more expenses to rent the Ato Boldon and transport their athletes. 

Primary and secondary schools officials for the South Eastern, St Patrick and Victoria disctrict primary schools failed to host sports days, losing the opportunity for recruiting and identifying top track and field talent, because of the stadium shutdown.