Extra lanes could open up prestigious avenues
A POTENTIAL two-lane extension of Footes Lane’s athletics track will have benefits beyond the Guernsey 2021 NatWest Island Games.
That’s the view of Tom Druce in regard to plans unveiled by Education, Sport and Culture, which also include much general refurbishment and are likely to be settled within the next week.
Druce expects far-reaching benefits from extending the outside of the circuit to match the eight-lane home straight.
‘For us, the importance comes mainly in terms of the added training space,’ he said.
‘It will be improved by the fact that we can hold eight people in sprint races as opposed to six and it adds to the prestige of an event.
‘It just means that we will have to make fewer considerations within our coaching, and group sessions we are doing, and give a better athletics offering, which will hopefully make the sport grow.’
He did, however, hint that the expenditure could also help Guernsey put itself on the radar when it comes to top-flight competitions.
‘The Commonwealth Youth Games – with an eight lane track, we’d be more able to do that, for example,’ added Druce, before expanding on the benefits for other highlights such as the Intertrust Games.
‘In an eight-lane race for a 200 or 400, it makes a big difference – you can have four favoured lanes rather than two favoured lanes and it makes the race a lot better.’
The ESC are currently seeking a tendering arrangement over the potentially expensive investment.
‘Whilst we are still awaiting final funding approval, it is recognised that the number of companies with the necessary specialist skills to undertake this work may be somewhat limited,’ explained commercial risk manager Colin Thorburn.
‘In addition, it is also quite possible that such businesses may a have a large order book with work already lined up for several months.
‘In view of this, Recreation Services has taken the decision to approach the market early so as to maximise the amount of interest and therefore increase the likelihood of securing better value for money.’