Grounds for concern as showpiece event gets underway

Published: Sunday, March 11, 2007, 22:33 [IST]
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Kingston (Jamaica):Hours before the official opening of the cricket World Cup, several hosting venues are racing against time to be fully ready and are being given last minute finishing touches.

Venue Development Director Don Lockerbie, while admitting that several stadiums have not reached 100 per cent readiness, this however, would not prevent the successful hosting of matches during the March 13 to April 28 mega event.

''I think a lot of the venues have waited to the very last bit to get some of the final bits of construction in and as a perfectionist, I'm a little disappointed that I don't see all the landscaping full out and the roads all paved and things around the stadiums (finished),'' Lockerbie said.

''But construction as you know is very, very difficult in this part of the world sometimes, but I will say we are ready. I will say we can put on a fabulous World Cup in these venues and I look for them maybe to mature in the future.

''I would have liked to believe we could have had them mature now but they are brand new and I almost feel like they are babies that have been pushed out of the nest. But they are all flying so that's good for us,'' he said.

The Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium in Jamaica's north-west will play host to the opening ceremony on Sunday after being the venue for warm-up matches earlier this week.

It is one of two venues developed in Jamaica for the tournament, with the historic Sabina Park upgraded to meet its commitments of hosting Group D preliminary-round matches.

First-round matches will also be held at Warner Park in St. Kitts, Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia, all of which were renovated.

The Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua and the Guyana National Stadium were built from scratch to host Super Eight matches.

Kensington Oval in Barbados and Grenada's National Stadium received major upgrades for the showpiece event.

Lockerbie, also the tournament's chief operating officer, expressed happiness that the stadiums represented huge improvements over what existed before.

''I think we've come a long way to getting them as clean and polished and ready (as we can). Certainly we have a few weeks for places like Kensington Oval and Grenada, Antigua, Guyana (to get ready) but we'll really see the tournament venues starting on Tuesday with Sabina Park.

''We are close to getting all of the goals we set for ourselves and we'll let those who bought tickets and who are sitting in the press box judge,'' Lockerbie added.


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