The water in the main pool at the National Aquatic Centre has turned mossy green. The Couva venue, which has been unused since August, is however expected to be ready by Thursday, when the National Short Course Swimming Championships splash off.
When Newsday visited the multi-million dollar facility yesterday, two of the three pools were not fit for use.
According to an official of the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SporTT), who requested anonymity, “The warm-up pool is cleaned, the competition pool will be cleaned and the diving pool, which is not in use, will be cleaned this week.”
However, security guards at the venue yesterday prevented any photos of the pools from being taken out. “You can’t take any pictures here, you’ll have to leave,” one officer insisted.
The National Short Course Championships, which will be held under the auspices of the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ASATT), will run from Thursday until Sunday.
Jason Wickham, public relations officer of ASATT, said in an interview that they have received guarantees from SporTT that the venue will be 100-percent ready for the 2017 edition of the Short Course Championships.
“As far as I’m aware, it would be ready for the meet on Thursday,” he said. “That’s my information.”
Asked if the swimmers have been allowed access to the venue to train, Wickham replied, “We have not had access since probably the end of August.”
The last major meet to be staged at the National Aquatic Centre was the National Age Group Short Course Championships in July.
Anthony Blake, who was facility manager of the Sport Company, was among eight SporTT employees sent on administrative leave for the past four months and was subsequently fired last Thursday following a forensic audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Since his absence, the national football team has shifted their home games from the Hasely Crawford Stadium to the Ato Boldon Stadium because of a lighting problem as well as to take advantage of the smaller venue.
“We’re not responsible for the facility,” Wickham said, “but they have some issues and we weren’t able to have access to it. But we have been assured that we can have our meet on Thursday.”
As far as the event is concerned, Wickham admitted that ASATT is still in the process of confirming the number of clubs and swimmers that will be participating.
“We don’t have final things as yet,” said Wickham. “I think it was how it was confirmed last-minute, our entry deadlines have been extended. By (today) we should have an idea of what the actual turnout is. People have been training at their regular club pools.”