Stadium Viewby Michael Bascombe

ST GEORGE’S, December 4, 2015 – Olympic 400 metres champion Kirani James is among athletes and officials who have welcomed the Class One Certification for the new track and field stadium in St George’s.

The stadium, which is scheduled for opening on January 23, 2016, is listed as a Class One facility by the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF.

In its updated list of certified athletics facilities on Wednesday, the Grenada Stadium is now one of five Class One facilities in the Caribbean and 132 worldwide.

The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau, The Bahamas; Estadio Olimpico Juan Pablo

Governor General in Stadium

Governor General in Stadium

Duarte in the Dominican Republic; the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica and the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad are the other Class 1 certified facilities in the Caribbean, according to the IAAF.

James, who won Grenada’s first Olympic medal at the London 2012 Games, welcomes the news and signalled his intention to compete in front of home fans in the future.

“It’s good for the athletes back home to get a track at this level to compete, train and do everything on a level playing field as other Caribbean countries,” he told GrenadaSports.

“The CARIFTA Games will give us a good idea as to what steps we need to take to actually host something official, but of course I’ll hope to compete at home, it’s a no brainer.”

Also welcoming the certification are 2014 Commonwealth Games Decathlon bronze medallist Kurt Felix and quarter-miler Rondell Bartholomew who is preparing to make a comeback in 2016 following injury.

“Yes, that’s good news and I’m hoping to compete in front of home crowd and get good performance that is actually recognised and certified on one of the best tracks in the Caribbean,” said Felix.

“It’s awesome news and for an island as small as Grenada to have that type of quality track,” said Bartholomew prior to a training session in Alabama on Thursday.

“It’s something we need to cherish and maintain and hopefully one day we could host a big meet like (IAAF) World Relays,” he said.

Sports Minister Emmalin Pierre complimented the stakeholders involved in the construction of the stadium, including the construction team from China. She said the task will be to maximise the facility to reap the benefits.

“This is exciting news for Grenada and we have to be totally excited about this,” she said. “So what we’ve to do is to maximise the use of the facility. So our ranking is top, we’re among the best but we’ve to maximise the use of the facility to ensure we reap the total and full benefits of this. This is an accomplishment for Grenada.”

The stadium, which will also accommodate football, will take centre stage in March 2016 when it hosts the primary and secondary schools’ track and field championships, the CONCACAF Girls’ Football Tournament and the CARIFTA Games.

The associations have not disclosed any plans as yet to utilise the facility but the sports minister is hoping that the stadium is maximised to its potential.

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