The Easter Cycling Grand Prix will return to the Arima Velodrome soon.
The T&T Cycling Federation through its president Rowena Williams has been working on having repairs done to community facilities in Siparia (Irwin Park), San Fernando (Skinner Park) and the Arima Velodrome for use during the 2022 season.
Repair works are being done on all three facilities by the three regional corporations. Williams told Guardian Media Sports on Monday that she has been in contact with officials of the various facilities in an attempt to have them ready. She said The Arima facility has not had any Easter Gand Prix action since 2019 and reminded all about the history of the facility with regards to cycling.
"We did have a scheduled meeting with Cagney Casimire, the Mayor of Arima, together with the councillors and members of the Arima Borough Corporation, as we seek to get things ready and for when we start back our cycling season 2022. So what we tried to do is we started discussions to have the Arima Velodrome put things in place to clean up the tracks, get the lines painted and get some maintenance work done. As you know, the track is one of the tracks that we have been using over the years and we don't want to see it disintegrate and not in use. That is a track that a lot of our Olympic cyclists have been training on, and have been using over the years and it has produced many great performances. We definitely don't want to lose sight of the grassroots tracks that we have, not just Arima, but we're also talking about Skinner Park (San Fernando) and Siparia (Irwin Park). We really want to get back to that place where our tracks are going to be used, our kids can come back out and race, and of course bring out the communities in those areas," Williams explained.
Williams said that while the TTCF has its sights set on Arima, it will not happen for the next year's Easter season, as the Grand Prix is supposed to coincide with the official opening of the newly refurbished Skinner Park facility.
Also called the 'Park', the main sporting hub of the southland is being transformed into a state-of-the-art multipurpose facility that will enhance sports in the San Fernando and surrounding communities. However, at Arima, clubs such as Arima Wheelers, which has consistently used the facility, will continue to use it. Kirt Cunningham, a coach at the club, said the track is in need of cleaning and the lights need to be repaired also.
Williams, who became president of the TTCF in February said her organisation wants to preserve the history that the Arima Velodrome has left.
"History has it that the Arima track is known for the Easter Grand Prix every year. Good Friday, Gloria Saturday, Easter Sunday, there was always a history that easter weekend you always had to be in Arima. So that historic moment of cycling has always been there and the Arminians love cycling so we definitely don't want to lose that. I have already done tours to all the facilities actually, I have already done Siparia and I am in consultation with Indarjit Singh, the Chief Executive Officer, as well as one of the councillors Derek Bowen. And we have done the site visit to Skinner Park recently, where we sought to test the concrete that they're using because it's going to be a concrete track, so that visit was done a few weeks ago. Really and truly, we want to remind our cycling fans that we want to preserve those facilities that we know were used to bring our cycling to the highest level. The young ones, those are the tracks that will be used to develop them and bring them to that high-level performance, and then they will transverse to going into the National Cycling Centre in Couva," Williams concluded.