Smith to athletes — Be patient

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Responding to calls from T&T’s 4x400 metre men’s relay team for their gold medal run at last June’s IAAF World Championships to finally be recognised, Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Darryl Smith is urging patience.

Minister Smith said, “Track and Field seems to be the most vocal. Rewards and incentives I am hoping is not why people are getting into sport but nevertheless, we covered the length and breadth of the country with a consultation and it is in front the Cabinet now.

“Most of the athletes and most of the NGBs are happy to see for the first time that we have a policy but we just have to be a little patient.”

Smith says that he is hopeful that the new Sports Policy will receive Cabinet approval before the end of the year, stating that he was eager to recognise the numerous achievements of this country’s sports men and women from 2015 to present.

He also explained that the new sport policy would give a clear outline to all athletes of what to expect when they are successful at various levels of sport.

“Since I came in as minister we said that we were finalising a policy for the first time but they (athletes) just have to hold strain. I am hoping that before the year ends we will have this policy.”

Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew programme on Friday, Smith also took the opportunity to address the topic of the Dwight Yorke Stadium’s disrepair and pending refurbishments.

Smith stated, “I totally one hundred percent agree with the rumblings with regards to the facilities. All those stadia were built for the youth world cup in 2001 and absolutely no work was done to maintain and upgrade them. The Dwight Yorke in particular needs a lot of work because of the seablast.”

“The budget was read in October and it was passed in October and we put five million dollars to start work at that Stadium. That same week we had a team from UDECOTT on the ground with the THA. A cabinet note has been approved and confirmed and tendering is supposed to start in the next few weeks to get work going.”

Outlining some of the works needed to be carried out, Smith explained that the floodlighting system had deteriorated completely and would be among the issues to be addressed in the first phase of works along with plumbing and electrical.

“The second phase is to do the roofing and so on but work is going to start and tenders are going to go out and that is very good news for the people for Tobago.” said minister Smith.

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