THOSE who attended the 2022 International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup match between West Indies and Papua New Guinea at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex on Wednesday were thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to watch live sports again.
“I quickly snatched up my vaccination card…I here before the game start.” That was what long-time Diego Martin resident “Ato” said when he heard that fully vaccinated fans were allowed in the venue. Ato lives a stone’s throw away from the Diego Martin Sporting Complex.
In the early stages of the tournament, which bowled off on January 14, fans were not permitted at matches held in TT because of covid19.
On Sunday, the Government announced that a safe zone return to play policy was approved. The policy says that fully vaccinated fans can attend outdoor sporting venues at 50 per cent capacity.
Popular nuts man Jumbo was not there selling nuts and there was no Mexican wave during the match, but the 50 people who showed up to watch the match appreciated the chance to see live cricket.
The DJ also kept the small crowd entertained.
West Indies proved too much for Papua New Guinea winning the plate quarterfinal by 169 runs.
Ato, a resident of the community for over 45 years, did not hesitate to attend the match.
“For me to be here this morning is a pleasure,” Ato said.
“When the tournament began I saw we were not allowed to come in. This morning when I wake up now they say once you vaccinated you could come…that’s why I end up here one time.”
Ato was disappointed that fans were not initially allowed. He asked himself, “Why they do not give the residents an opportunity to come to watch the cricket?”
Ato is elated to have the venue in his community.
“It is great thing that the Government has done here by building this complex,” Ato said.
“It will encourage people who interested in sport, to motivate them.”
Hector Gibson and his wife Zaina Hosein of Petit Valley were happy to be there.
“This is so close to home and this is the first time I coming here. I feel really good because I am familiar with the ground (because this is) Merry Boys old ground,” Gibson said.
Gibson described attending the match as “therapeutic.”
Hosein said she grew up in a cricket family.
The couple unfortunately went to Queen’s Park Oval initially after being misinformed that the West Indies match was being held there.
There has been little traffic at the venue since it opened as one year after the ribbon was cut the covid19 pandemic hit. The Diego Martin Sporting Complex opened in March, 2019.
Diego Martin Central MP Symon de Nobriga said, “That facility has a special place in my heart.”
de Nobriga is a former chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation.
He is excited for TT sport and the community of Diego Martin. “It is a victory for the Minister of Sport’s return to play policy as well. It is great to have this sort of activity in Diego Martin as well.”
WEST INDIES 317/6 (50 overs) – Matthew Nandu 128, Shaqkere Parris 64, Kevin Wickham 61 not out; Boio Ray 3/43 vs PAPUA NEW GUINEA 148 (37.4 overs) – Aue Oru 27 not out; Matthew Nandu 2/14, Isai Thorne 2/30, McKenny Clarke 2/34. West Indies won by 169 runs