Proper facilities and efficient sporting organisations are critical to athlete development. These are two areas the Department of Sport intends to focus on in the next fiscal year, Assistant Secretary of the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Assemblyman Jomo Pitt said during his contribution to the 2016/2017-budget debate on Thursday (June 24).
Pitt said the Division is planning a number of infrastructural projects, including upgrades to the community grounds in Buccoo, Patience Hill, Mt Grace and Mt Pleasant; hard court refurbishment at Black Rock, Moriah, Mason Hall, Jubilee Park and Charlotteville; and construction of change rooms and bleachers at community grounds. The Division is also proposing to construct a High Performance Gym to enable athletes to move to the next level.
Also on the list of infrastructural projects are the creation of a cricket turf wicket in Speyside and the refurbishment of cricket nets in Roxborough, Mt Pleasant and Louis D’Or.
Development programmes presented include restructuring of the sports department for improved efficiency that would to lend to an improvement in for field and facility maintenance aspect. The Assistant Secretary voiced, “There has been struggle s over the years in dealing with predictability. It is the hope that the restructuring would address this issue”. The maintenance programme will also include field lights.
The Department will continue to emphasize the strengthening of coaches through capacity building workshops and conferences. Pitt said, “The heights that our athlete attain is influenced by the coaching that they get, it is our hope that by improving our coaching pool and the level of coaching on the island, it will transfer to the performance of the athletes”.
Also on the list is a community based coaching initiative with the various sporting entities that will see after school and weekend coaching programmes in aim of returning the love of sport to the people of Tobago.