MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) Christopher Samuda is hopeful that the ongoing rehabilitation of Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay will result in the nurturing of athletes from nearby areas.
“We’re hoping that plans will come to fruition. We’re hoping that it will go beyond just simply a venue for international and regional events but there would be, of course, a strategic plan to ensure that the talent in the surrounding community will be able to avail themselves of the facilities in their hope to represent Jamaica and regionally,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Samuda was in the western city to engage with local stakeholders on the business of sport when he was asked to comment on the St James Municipal Corporation’s plan to pump $7 million into fixing up the facility. The sports complex has been in need of repair for a number of years.
“I’m extremely pleased at the news that there will be refurbishing at the Catherine Hall stadium. I have always maintained that you can’t have sport developing infrastructurally unless you have the infrastructure,” he said.
Cows grazing on the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in St James earlier this year. (Photos: Observer file)
The work mainly involves resurfacing of the turf. It comes in the wake of a recent furore over cars being driven on the running track, apparently as part of a music video.
Samuda has welcomed the work being done as a turning point for the facility. He also spoke of the importance, generally, of having adequate structures in place.
“Our strong point in the Jamaica Olympic Association is infrastructure; our policies are geared towards that. You can’t have an athlete or a swimmer or badminton player or a fencer if you don’t have the facilities,” he stressed.
“Infrastructure means that you have to ensure that the facilities at the venues are in fact at a [certain] standard. It may not be at an international standard but at a standard that can allow our athletes to train and to participate competitively,” the JOA president added.