Former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird says that while he supports the call for the Yasco sports complex to be upgraded, athletes should spend more time training instead of complaining.
On Saturday, parents and athletes gathered outside of the track and field facility to protest the lack of action by the Antigua and Barbuda Athletic Association and the Ministry of Sports and also used the opportunity to solicit funds from drivers for repairs to the complex.
Speaking during today’s Budget Debate, former national athlete for Antigua and Barbuda Sir Lester Bird said that while he is joining the protest for the much needed upgrade to the facility.
” I am one who is protesting also but mind you that when i was jumping 24 and 25 ft in Antigua, is recreation I was jumping on…hard earth so while I agree that athletes have the right to complain, they’re complaining too much,” he disclaimed.
The minister spoke of some of his experience as a former athlete training in a similar environment and admonished young athletes to become more motivated if they wish to be successful.
“I speak from my own position where I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning and go up to the Recreation Grounds with my brother Vere to run and jump and as a result of that when I went to Jamaican in 1957 I won the silver medal in the long jump and that’s how I got the scholarship to go to Michigan. So I accept that we have to upgrade the facility to an international level but too many athletes are not motivated enough to get up there and train and do their best,” the former athlete said.
Sir Lester also used the opportunity to call on the Minister responsible for Sports to hold discussions with the relevant personnel’s to expand and upgrade the facility to international standard but was told that discussions are already ongoing.
In 2016, the government pledged 1.6 million towards the upgrade of the facility which was expected to commence in December. The date was however pushed to January of this year and with the month coming to an end, coaches and parents took the matter to the streets.