By Morissa Lindsay
As the National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championship (NAPSAC) gets set to commence on Monday, February 6th at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) President, Rudy Lovell joined the call for a new National Stadium.
During this morning’s press conference held at the Assad Haloute Complex which is the home of title sponsors Chefette Restaurants and Frosteez Ice Cream located in Lears, St. Michael, Lovell added his voice to the multitude who have appealed for the Government to build a new Stadium which he would like to see fulfilled by 2025.
Lovell made this request in the presence of NAPSAC Chairperson, Janelle Denny, Managing Director of title sponsor Chefette Restaurants and Frosteez Ice Cream, Ryan Haloute and Assistant Director of the National Sports Council (NSC), Adrian Donovan.
“As I did by asking for the Get Moving Festival to be a regular feature on Primary Schools calendar and was granted, I am calling on the Government of Barbados to complete the National Stadium, to among other things enable NAPSAC to return to its stomping ground after being away from the Stadium since 2020.
“Hoping this request will be granted at least by 2025. Given the support that NAPSAC has had throughout the years and relaxing of the COVID-19 protocols, it envisioned that the stands at the Usain Bolt Complex would be filled and may not be able to accommodate all those who want to attend.
“I therefore encourage you to join me in this chorus by calling for the completion of the National Stadium which would accommodate more spectators and reignite the friendly rivalry among opposing schools. It must be noted however, that in the absence of the National Stadium, the atmosphere at the Usain Bolt Complex has been an able substitute,” Lovell said.
The BUT President also called for the frequent maintenance of various playing fields across the island which host a number of track and field sports as he re-iterated his point that the BUT remains committed to NAPSAC and looks forward to the competition this years’ championship will bring.
The NAPSAC zonal competitions are scheduled for Monday, February 6th to Thursday, February 9th and Monday, February 13th to Thursday, February 16th while the semifinal will take place Thursday, March 2nd and final on Friday, March 10th at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
Ticket prices remain the same and are available at six box offices which includes Emerald City Six Roads, Esso Black Rock, Jordans Supermarket in Speightstown, CS Pharmacy, Sports Mart and Barbados Union of Teachers.
President of the Association of Public Primary Schools Principals, Ivan Clarke also shared the same sentiments as Lovell regarding the need for a National Stadium saying, “Politicians are to promise and they are also to deliver and I am not talking BLP, DLP, it was long in coming and it is time our young athletes be rewarded, so they can be running on a good track, so they can be enjoying a good facility.
“…Government and or the private sector provide the children of Barbados with a proper Stadium, it is too long, stop making excuses. I am saying stop making the excuses, let’s get it, we need to hold the Government to that.”
As NAPSAC returns to its full complement of eight zones, Denny in her capacity as Chairperson explained that tickets will not be sold at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex venue. She however stated that the ticket prices will remain the same for children BDS$5, adults BDS$10 for the zones (each day) and semifinal while the final is BDS$20.
As she addressed those in the audience that also included representatives of defending NAPSAC champions West Terrace Primary (girls) and St. George Primary (boys), Denny said, “Sports was most affected in recent times but we assumed an ambitious programme within our 20th Anniversary celebrations which kept our children fully engaged and happy. With this extended season of preparation from 2022, we anticipate that the fittest and the better prepared will emerge and rise to the top.”
She also acknowledged the importance of all the various sponsors, especially title sponsors for the second consecutive year, Chefette Restaurants and Frosteez Ice Cream and encouraged corporate Barbados to play their part in the development of this country’s children.
“Times are hard and money is tight but you have expressed to us as a committee, to the public and most importantly to our students that you care. As a society we cannot want our children to be positive and then not provide avenues and activities to manifest said positivity. We will add more to this list but I encourage all of corporate Barbados to support us and similar causes,” Denny added.
Assistant Director of the NSC, Adrian Donovan reminded those present that the council was a major partner of NAPSAC. He disclosed the challenges the NSC were having regarding late request from schools for technical assistance and preparation of grounds. There were 11 school sports last Friday and next Friday, January 27th there are 23 school scheduled to take place.
In order for no school to be left out, Donovan noted that the NSC marking crew are now working seven days a week while battling with the rain that is falling almost every day but he assured all in attendance that they will get it done.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Chefette Restaurants and Frosteez Ice Cream, Ryan Haloute stated during his speech that they are happy to see NAPSAC return to its original format of eight zones opposed to the previous five. He said his company is honoured to invest in the future leaders of Barbados.
“Going forward we would continue to support NAPSAC and these types of events, we are really honoured to have these types of opportunities. We view the kids as our future leaders of this country, they are the future building blocks and we will continue to invest and encourage them to partake in NAPSAC and give of their best,” Haloute said.
Dates, sponsors and zones for NAPSAC 2023:
February 6th – Rubis Caribbean Andrea Blackett Zone
February 7th – Holiday/Bermudez James Wedderburn Zone
February 8th – Anton Norris Zone
February 9th – Roma Pasta Marcia Trotman Zone
February 13th – The Nation Publishing Patsy Callender Zone
February 14th – Obadele Thompson Zone
February 15th – Sunshine Cereals Ryan Brathwaite Zone
February 16th – The Wibisco Freida Nicholls Zone
March 2nd – Semifinal
March 10th – Final