The National Primary Schools Athletics Championship (NAPSAC) will feature on Barbados’ 2017 sporting calendar after all.
New NAPSAC chairman Richmark Cave made this confirmation Wednesday afternoon to Barbados TODAY, assuring that the championship, considered the pinnacle of track and field competition and supremacy for Under-13 athletes, in Barbados was very much on track.
It was reported just a few weeks ago that due to insufficient funding NAPSAC was in danger of not being staged this year. Former chairman Wayne Robinson met last month with 50 primary school teachers and coaches to review the 2016 NAPSAC season and it was said that the chances of having NAPSAC this year were slim to none without sponsorship.
Robinson had previously indicated that it would cost $200,000 to stage the championship and that the move to the Usain Bolt Complex last year due to the closure of the stands at the National Stadium, had hit their pockets to a point where they had lost about two-thirds of their spectatorship and income.
Now, Cave has stated that the athletics meet will be off and running at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex beginning February 13 and that notification letters have already been sent out to all schools. He said that based on responses from sponsors the championship would meet its financing costs.
“We met and we have things very much on stream. There is a set of meetings planned [by the committee] and once we get those meetings off and we get things going the way we want them to go, we would definitely be kicking.
“We just sent off information to the schools in terms of participation dates, the deadline dates. All that information has been sent out to the schools last week and I guess persons will start to respond as soon as the deadline approaches,” Cave said.
Word reaching Barbados TODAY is that the cost for using the Usain Bolt Sports Complex has increased, leaving at least one sporting federation, namely the Barbados Football Association, no choice but to use the dilapidated facility at the National Stadium for the 2017 season.
However Cave said the committee was currently awaiting a proposal in relation to using the University of the West Indies’ complex and the cost that would be attached.
“I have not had the proposal from them in terms of the fees, so I can’t speak to that. But I can tell you that the dates and everything was set for Usain Bolt and that is where we are going. The zones remain the same and up to today the organizing committee met and we are still in discussions with sponsors. We still have Pine Hill Dairy on board as the title sponsor but in terms of other sponsors we are still negotiating. We have some on board that have been on board before and we are negotiating with some new ones at the moment,” Cave stated.
It is an all too familiar situation. Last year’s NAPSAC was almost cancelled with the unavailability of the stands at the National Stadium. However, the championship meet still came off with St Stephen’s Primary boys and West Terrace girls being crowned champions.
Cave, a teacher at the Lawrence T Gay Primary School, said he was ready for the task ahead in what he described to be a testing season going forward.
“I have been on the committee since the inception of NAPSAC. I was one of the founding members of the committee. It is a territory that is not new to me, it is something that I am familiar with and NAPSAC is dear to my heart and this is something I look forward to in this challenging year,” he said.
Assistant director of the National Sports Council, Mona Alleyne, is now the new assistant chairman of NAPSAC.