It will cost the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) $1.5 million to stage this month’s series of track and field events, says Allan Baboolal, chairman of the Games Committee.
Fortunately for the national sporting organisation, corporate T&T fulfilled its pledge to partner with the aim of honing the skills of the future Olympians.
State-owned National Gas Company (NGC) signed as the title sponsored for the National Junior Championships which took place last weekend, the Juvenile National Championships scheduled for this weekend and the Combined National Championships advertised to take place on between June 21 and 22. NGC shares the spotlight with insurer Sagicor at the National Open Championships a week later.
But that’s not where the list of good corporate citizens ends. Phoenix Park Gas Processor Limited (PPGPL) a subsidiary of NGC, state-owned Petrotrin and Blue Waters have partnered with the NAAA, too, and this has helped made our 2015 programme of activities possible.
Baboolal, who holds the post of secretary on the NAAA executive, said the budget for last weekend’s NGC/NAAA National Junior Championships, held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Woodbrook, was an estimated $178,000.
The first leg in the planned four consecutive-weekend of action saw sprinter Jonathon Farinha, of Abilene Wildcats complete a double in the under-20 boys 100m and 200m respectively. In the process he achieved the qualifying time for the Junior Pan American Games in Edmonton, Canada, this July. Meanwhile, while Carifta triple medalist Akanni Hislop of Zenith successfully defended his boy’s U-18 100m crown to secure qualification in the World Youth Championships to be held in Cali, Colombia, next month. His time was 10.48 seconds.
The competition schedule was expected to continue this weekend with the NGC/NAAA National Juvenile Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Woodbrook. The budget for that production is $100,000.
Baboolal said, “The budget for the NGC/Sagicor Open Championships has increased to $678,000; relatively small compared to what other events may have gotten and probably not produced the calibre of events. The NGC/NAAA Combined Championships is under $100,000.”
But efforts to get the Sport Company of T&T (SporTT) on board with the NAAA had not gone as seamless in comparison to the relationship the national sporting organisation enjoyed with its corporate partners.
The Games Committee undertook repair work on two sets of hurdles. It was discovered that the newer sets were not as durable as the ones replaced. The NAAA had them all refurbished.
“Since the Open Championships is the only one that goes into the evening, the request from the call room referee Dawn Washington is to see what we can do with the lights. Now, we spoke to the SporTT Company. If nothing is forthcoming then the NAAA have to do something. So we have already engaged an electrician to fix the lights that are over the warm up tracks. We have written to the SporTT Company asking them to re-lay the warm up track. Over the years, we have the issue of Richard Thompson and Keston Bledman and Marcus Duncan and all these guys not warming up on the warm-up track; so we have to use the back straight, which is not the best, because you want competitors only in the arena,” Baboolal said.
He added, “We always have the issue with the focusing of the lights. They shift it for football. Photo-finish and darkness are not friends. We need lights. If it cannot be fixed we are going to install some temporary lights.”