There is hope that plans for the relaying of the all-weather synthetic running track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall could be in the works.

At Tuesday's media launch of the 43rd staging of the Western Relays at Deja Resorts on Jimmy Cliff Boulevard in Montego Bay, general manager of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) Denzil Wilks said the venue had not been forgotten and urged patience with the process that was taking place.

While stressing that he was not “in any position to speak with any great authority”, Wilks said he had been invited to a meeting this week where the issue could be discussed and he intended to make his recommendations for the importance of the track.

There has not been any track and field action on the Mondo track that was laid in 2002 since 2018 after the surface had deteriorated to the state that it had become dangerous for athletes to run on.

As a result, a number of events have been moved to other venues, such as Western Relays, the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Western High school championships, Western Primary Championships and the Council of the Community Colleges of Jamaica track and field championships.

Wilks was responding to an appeal from Meet Director Ray Harvey who said in his remarks on Tuesday that “Saturday, February 12 Western Relays will be at GC Foster, we dream of being back home for Western Relays 2023, this meet needs to return home after being away for four years we need to be home, let us dream that this dream comes through”.

Wilks said: “Here we are in Montego Bay for the launch of the Western Relays and (in a few days) we have to go to the east for the staging of the Western Relays and its a little incongruous, let us be honest and so the track is there, I was there just a few days ago and it is badly in need of resuscitation and everything.”

Wilks said he was not in a position to make promises, but stated: “I would be remiss if I were not to indicate that I am part of a process that is in progress, it involves our minister, it is led by our minister, it involves the ministry, it involves the SDF , it involved the Ministry of Finance and even Wednesday I am being called to a meeting.

“I am no great cricketer either, but I will have to participate in a little bit of an innings which will include some batting, it is a process and we hope, in the not too distant future, we will see the return of the Western Relays to the west but remember that I cannot speak with any authority in terms of timing and all that; but I reassure you that it is not something forgotten, there is a process that is taking place.”

Despite the disappointment of having to stage the Western Relays in St Catherine, Wilks said there was still some positives.

“It is wonderful that in spite of all of that, the relays will still take place at GC Foster College on Saturday...with the work that has being put in place to make this happen, when we got the call that Milo had dropped out, we knew we cannot afford to allow an institution like this, because that is what it has become, to fall down and it did not take much to convince the chairman and the directors of the SDF and we were able to provide some level of assistance,” he stated.

From the Jamaica Observer