JUST months after commissioning the warm-up pool at Guyana’s state-of-the-art National Aquatic Centre, President Donald Ramotar is set to commission the new Leonora Synthetic Track facility at an opening ceremony on Friday. The President is expected to be among a line-up of officials, including Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, and Director of Sport Neil Kumar, to witness the official opening of the facility, whose infrastructure will host both athletics and football events.
Speaking with Chronicle Sport yesterday, Kumar noted what a historical event the opening of the track will be for Guyana,
“It is a historical thing for us, because we are proud to know that we could have built this world class state-of-the-art track, where everything was done professionally,” Kumar said.
No fraternity can be more appreciative of the significance of the facility’s opening than the track and field, with president of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) Aubrey Hutson yesterday noting his joy on the occasion.
“I am elated that it is going to be finally open, and the AAG is working to put together a nice programme (for the ceremony). All of our top local athletes are going to be there competing in their best events, and a lot of them are going to be looking for bragging rights on the track so it’s going to be an exciting time,” Hutson said.
This will be Guyana’s first facility that will house an all-weather synthetic track, the surface recommended by the athletics world governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).
The track is expected to pave the way for Guyana’s hosting of regional and international track and field events, and Hutson has made it known that the AAG is eagerly awaiting its turn to bid to host such events in Guyana. Even while fans await the Guyana’s hosting of international events, they can still get to see persons in action on the track with the many local meets the AAG hopes to host there.
According to Hutson, the track can see its first official event as early as next month, with AAG wishful of hosting the National Seniors Championships, set for May 7, at the facility. That event is expected to be followed by the National Youths and Juniors.
Aside from the hosting of meets, the track comes as a great asset to national athletes in their preparation ahead of attending international events, where they will compete on a similar surface, as the transition from training on grass surface to competing on synthetic surface has been a challenge for the athletes.
Apart from the athletic displays, patrons at the ceremony will witness football and will be entertained with cultural items that include steel pan music, African and Indian drumming and pieces from the National School of Dance. The opening ceremony is set to begin at 10:00hrs.