A special Committee will soon be formed to consider the upgrading of Progress Park in St. Andrew.
This was announced by Minister of Sports – Hon. Emmalin Pierre during remarks at the official opening ceremony for Inter-Col 2015 at Progress Park last week Wednesday. The Hon. Minister made the announcement within the context of Progress Park’s hosting the Games for the very first time it was held outside of St. George’s. The impression created then was that Inter-Col could be held there again.
However, in the same breath, Minister Pierre stated that the Ministry of Sports was pleased to announce that there will finally be a permanent home for Inter-Col from 2016. That was obviously in reference to the anticipated completion of the National Athletics and Football Stadium at Queen’s Park in St. George’s. Sports enthusiasts are looking forward to that facility when the 51st anniversary of Inter-Col will be celebrated and when Grenada will be hosting Carifta 2016.
Minister Pierre’s announcement that Progress Park will be upgraded has raised concerns about the possible staging of the Games in the future.
George “Goatie” Robinson was a star PBC athlete, former Director of Inter-Col and an experienced sports enthusiast. He has some serious concerns with regard to staging Inter-Col outside of St. George’s in the near future. Like everybody else, Goatie says that Inter-Col is Grenada’s premier athletic event and after that, the athletes look towards Carifta and beyond. For this reason, if for no other, the athletes must train and run on synthetic tracks, and must acclimatize themselves with it.
Progress Park does not have synthetic tracks and he does not anticipate this in the foreseeable future. He said that he has no issue with the Games moving out of St. George’s but the athletes must come first. He does not think that Inter-Col must be decentralized so the organizers could make a big boast. In that light, the experienced sportsman has opined that sports and athletics in particular has not improved over the years as it should; this he attributed to a lack of direction and dedication on the part of organizers.
“Goatie” recalled for example the days when events like Pole Vault and Hurdles and even cycling were among those contested. The former athlete is strongly advocating that, at least, a venue in the big parish must be upgraded to host any level of sporting activities, but Inter-Col must always and only be held at Grenada’s best facilities. He also laments the fact that, in this day and age, there are still no serious training programmes or facilities for young Grenadian athletes.