The state of the art cycling velodrome nearing completion in Balmain, Couva, is expected to boost this country’s sports tourism drive.
This according to acting CEO of the SPORTT, Adrian Raymond. In an exclusive interview yesterday, Raymond said: “We know of the trust and value in pushing sport tourism and this wonderful facility will play a major part in this.”
The facility which sits next to the Aquatic Centre and the Ato Boldon Stadium has been outfitted with all the modern requirements for elite cycling and is expected to attract a number of foreign interests.
According to Raymond: “We are already seeing interests from a number of international cycling federations who want to use here. Remember we will be charging a fee, so when these guys come across, in addition to paying us a fee, they will be spending money on food, accommodation and travelling. People in and around Balmain, would also benefit because they can set up bed and breakfast facilities and also people can apply for use of the commercial areas in the building to set up shops as well.”
Anthony Blake, Executive manager of the facility, said that it is earmarked to finish in June and (UCI) International Cycling Union will come across in April to do the inspection.
“Currently we are putting down the track and a German firm called Sherman is working on it. We have a team from SPORTT working alongside them, so that they would have knowledge of the track and would be able to maintain this expensive track, so we can get proper use of it.”
Raymond chimed in: “We are going to be very strict with the use of the playing surfaces at all our elite venues. I am fully behind Blake and his crew with this. This track is Siberian Pine and it is very expensive. It is up to world standards and we must get maximum use out of it. We are building this facility and we fully intend to make it self sufficient. We would like the public to understand that this is an elite venue and needs to be taken care of properly.”
The inner parts of the facility can be used for other sports such as basketball, futsal, badminton, hockey and volleyball.
Raymond also declared that once the UCI passes the track, they will fit it into their annual calender. “We have hired the best in terms of the German company Sherman and once they build your track, the UCI approves it. We are looking to have the UCI include the Balmain Grand Prix on their annual calender and this would be big for T&T.
Remember, cyclists have to gain points to qualify for the Olympics and the UCI uses these grand prix for this fact. Imagine having the top cyclists here, what that would do for the sport. And remember when a cyclist comes here, he would not be coming alone, he has a team that would come with him, as well as journalists and officials, so we are expecting to have a major dent in sport tourism with this facility.”
Source: Trinidad Guardian