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Friday 23 August 2019
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Gym at Crawford Stadium insult to athletes

Sports Company chairman Douglas Camacho (right) in discussion with TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right) and Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe (left) during a visit at the Home of Football, in Balmain, Couva on August 19 2018. In the background, FIFA representative Veron Mosengo-Oba looks on.
Sports Company chairman Douglas Camacho (right) in discussion with TTFA president David John-Williams (second from right) and Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe (left) during a visit at the Home of Football, in Balmain, Couva on August 19 2018. In the background, FIFA representative Veron Mosengo-Oba looks on.

A Udecott official said the organisation is committed to national development, including sports, after a video was circulated of the dilapidated state of the Lennox Kilgour Strength Training Gym at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo.

A post by the TT Underground on Facebook on July 17 outlined the poor conditions at the facility.

“Just recently it was a state of the art gym, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, which is the biggest sports facility in TT. It has deteriorated, rapidly, and is virtually abandoned with equipment going to waste, faeces clogging the toilets and abandoned chairs littered around,” the post said.

The post said the venue is used for other activities other than sports. “Athletes are the ones suffering because of the poor maintenance or no maintenance, in this case. Stadium management justified using the venues for more fetes than sporting events on the grounds that they needed the funds for maintenance. Athletes were prevented from training when fetes were on the agenda.

For the inconvenience and sacrifice they earned nothing. The money was never used to maintain the facilities, as this video clearly shows.”

The post also said that the condition of the gym is disrespectful to former TT Olympic athletes, including Rodney Wilkes.

“A clear insult to the Olympian bronze medallist weightlifter (1952) who represented TT. Take a look at the video and allow yourself to be disgusted and horrified. And set an agenda for national affairs. #ShareIfYouCare.”

Sport Company of TT chairman Douglas Camacho knows the stadium needs work and confirmed Udecott is responsible for the upgrade.

“The stadium is nearly 40 years old and it needs a major refurbishment, and that is what they (Udecott) are planning to do. Not the gym (alone), but the stadium itself is due for (refurbishment). If you call Udecott, they will give you a sense of what’s happening. I don’t know when they are planning to start.” A Udecott official, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Udecott is committed to national development, so that is one of the commitments...and sports play a very essential role in that very mandate.”

The official, who did not want to comment specifically on the Lennox Kilgour facility, not having seen the video, said the opening and renovation of some venues in recent years showed the organisation’s commitment.

“The Brian Lara Stadium is just one signature initiative that was geared towards showing how much the Government is giving towards the sporting industry and Brian Lara is a state-of-the-art facility. We have Dwight Yorke Stadium coming on stream very soon...so a lot of commitment and focus is being given to sport. But again, as I said, I may not be in a position right now to give you a full view as to (that gym).”

A press release from the Sports Ministry last month about the Dwight Yorke Stadium said Phase II worksw ere close to completion and Udecott was working on mass lighting, seating and other areas “towards restoring the complex to its former glory.”

The Brian Lara Stadium was opened in 2017 in Tarouba, more than ten years after it was originally carded to be opened.

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