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The Brian Lara Stadium can be useful!
Let me begin by saying that building a cricket stadium with the magnitude of the one which is present, but unfinished, is not a project that I would have endorsed at any time. An International cricket stadium is not needed in T&T, regardless of where it is built. Maybe twenty years ago, the project may have sounded like a great idea as many exciting cricket matches were played locally and fans gave excellent support to these matches.
We also had the opportunity to host two Test matches annually, plus some high profile regional matches where the great West Indian Cricketers represented their countries with pride and an absolute desire to show the world that they are the best in the region. Foreign teams also played against the national teams in every country and sometimes two four day matches against T&T.
The main venue for our International cricket was and still is the Queen’s Park Oval and despite the absence of Test matches here in the recent past, the choice for any other match will be the Oval. Because it is in the Centre of the Capital city, it has adequate transport system to travel in and out of the city, where the major hotels for tourists who visit to attend matches, are mostly walking distance from the Oval.
So regardless of what the venue cost the people of this country in my opinion, was a decision which was not given sufficient thought. This huge edifice was given the name “Brian Lara Stadium”, the ideal tribute to the world’s record holder with highest scores in Test cricket and first class cricket. But the debate which seem to occupy the attention of almost every one for different reasons, remains an image of a wanton waste of money, which could have been used for sport in a much methodical manner.
It makes no sense looking back at the financial investment gone bad, does not change the abysmal state of affairs where the ground which was supposed to be completed some years ago, is now the subject of criticism from, both sides of the parliamentary benches. I have even heard that the local cricket authority would like to have the North/South Classic match played at the incomplete venue when the Queen’s Park and Guaracara Park are ready for play, with only pitch preparation needing a few days before the competition starts.
What about T&T’s Sports Academy?
With all this emphasis placed upon the funding of our Elite athletes annually so that they can achieve their goals when the big international events come around. Preparing athletes for the future does not necessarily mean placing money in their hands without knowing their needs in terms of all aspects of their development and progress. I strongly recommend to the persons responsible for making these decisions, that this venue be turned into the country’s oven for bringing our promising athletes from the various sporting disciplines into a high performance center for the major sports of Football, cricket, Track and field, Swimming, Netball, Cycling, Field hockey, Volleyball, Basketball, Table tennis and Tennis just to name a few.
The clientele for entry into this pristine institution must be carefully screened in their early teens, where coaches of quality can observe potential in their early stages. They must also be made to understand that their education is an integral part of their preparation, hence the reason why they should be attending academic classes for a portion of the time of day, with the same seriousness which they will approach their sporting discipline. There is sufficient space for the addition of a few tennis courts, a volleyball centre which can serve for basketball, netball and other indoor sports, while the practical venues for Track and field can be held at the nearby Manny Ramjohn Stadium.
Our new cycling track and swimming pool can serve its purpose, while the top portion of the stadium can be changed into classrooms where these potential stars can make academic intelligence be a part of their success. So please desist from the negatives and criticism from the politicians and for one moment in time, get your act together and let us give Brian Lara a venue for which he can be proud.
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