Look out Couva, cycling is coming to Central Trinidad.
Minister of Sport Anil Roberts made the announcement on Thursday during the official opening ceremony of the newly-paved road circuit at Samaan Park, Chaguaramas.
Roberts told the gathering of officials and cycling enthusiasts that he had made them two promises and had already delivered on the new Chaguaramas cycling surface. The second one, the new cycling velodrome, he added, is on its way.
“…I am glad to tell you that within the next two days the contract will be awarded and designs will begin for the construction of the cycling velodrome in Couva, next to the Ato Boldon Stadium (in Balmain),” Roberts said. “That is on track and it should be completed in the next 18 months.”
Cycling has long been clamouring for an international standard venue, with the 500-metre Arima Velodrome concrete track the most utilised, while the grass track at Skinner Park is also used.
On the Chaguaramas circuit, the Minister credited Ministry of Works Permanent Secretary Cheryl Blackman with “finding the money” for the project, which was not part of the Works Ministry’s budget. He explained that the Ministry had been able to save money on several road projects and was therefore able to go through with the paving.
Roberts promised athletes more is yet to come for sport lovers in Chaguaramas.
“This area…50-metre pool, another one coming down here also. Because this area is going to be one of the hubs for sport tourism, training, cross training for Trinidad and Tobago as we diversify the economy,” he revealed. “There’s nowhere better to train. You’ll have everything here. We’ll put a sports medical facility also alongside the 50-metre swimming pool so that all athletes who come here can train.”
Former national cyclist Michael Phillips, who chaired the event, along with Beacon Insurance chief executive Gerry Hadeed—himself a cycling enthusiast—thanked Roberts and Minister of Works Jack Warner for their contributions in preparing the surface.
Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Rowena Williams was also happy that cyclists have a safe place to ride and was excited at the possibility of night racing there once lights are installed.
“The cyclists are really rallying for a spot where they can train without the troubles of vehicles on the road,” Williams said.
“The cyclists are finding themselves in danger…recently we had a cyclist getting bounced twice. So we really rallied for somewhere safe, where the cyclists (can) do their work-outs accordingly.” (Trinidad Express)