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Impressive! - Sports minister, ASAJ president pleased with Aquatic Centre rehab

Published:Wednesday | March 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
The National Aquatic Centre at Independence Park Complex in Kingston yesterday.
Sports minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange

The $27.5 million renovation of the National Aquatic Centre at Independence Park, in preparation for Jamaica's hosting of the 2018 Carifta Swimming Championships, which begins this Friday, was very 'pleasing' to Sports Minister, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange and Aquatic Sports Association of Jamaica (ASAJ) president Martin Lyn.

Renovation spearheaded by ASAJ, the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), and Independence Park Limited saw a complete overhaul of the diving pool, which included it being dug up, filters being changed, and drains removed and redone. This was at a cost of over $14 million.

New touch pads and starting blocks were installed, along with a modernised electronic control system, while new water polo equipment were sponsored at a cost of over $12 million.

"I am very pleased this morning. This presentation is about a partnership between Government and a sporting organisation. ASAJ has demonstrated what can be done by sporting organisations in partnering with Government in ensuring their sport gets the support that's needed," Grange said.

"The facility here is now up to world standard. Water polo, artistic swimming, and the other areas of swimming are ready for the Carifta Games.

We have been able to upgrade the infrastructure to ensure the swimmers perform at their maximum and the visiting teams are exposed to world standards," she stated. "It cost a little over $27 million for all the work done, but this ensures that we have at our disposal a world class facility. When I look, I am very impressed with the work that has been done."


Ready to host


Following yesterday's announcement, Lyn said Jamaica now ready to host and compete in the CARIFTA Swimming Championships. "In terms of our preparation, we are really on track. We could host the Games if it starts (today), so we are good to go. We will start with water polo (on Friday) and very shortly, our artistic swimming teams are ready, and for competitive swimming our team is more than ready," he said.

"So I am very pleased the SDF saw it fit to support ASAJ with this sponsorship. This put us in an upgraded, First World standard regarding timing, electronic touch pads, starting blocks. Now we can compete with any nation based on what we have at the National Aquatic Centre," he said.

The Carifta Swimming Championship begins this Friday with water polo. Artistic and competitive swimming take place from March 31 to April 3, while open water swimming takes place on April 4 at the James Bond Beach in Oracabessa, St Mary.