JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Leila Robinson netball courts at the National Arena have been re-opened following a $23 million refurbishing project.
  • The facility, located at Independence Park Complex, now boasts a state-of-the-art ISO approved red and blue surface, replacing the outdated rubberised surface.
  • Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, said the project formed part of the Government’s commitment to upgrading and improving sporting facilities island-wide in keeping with the National Sports Policy.

The Leila Robinson netball courts at the National Arena have been re-opened following a $23 million refurbishing project.

The facility, located at Independence Park Complex, now boasts a state-of-the-art ISO approved red and blue surface, replacing the outdated rubberised surface. The work was undertaken by the state-run Sports Development Foundation (SDF).

Speaking at the official re-opening ceremony on Thursday, August 7, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley, said the project formed part of the Government’s commitment to upgrading and improving sporting facilities island-wide in  keeping with the National Sports Policy.

She noted that the new courts not only satisfy the requirements for netball, but also volleyball and basketball. “The surface is relatively low, it is easy to repair, the material is environmentally friendly and the drainage system is very efficient,” she stated.

Minister Neita Headley noted that the courts are among the most used sporting surfaces in Jamaica, as they are utilised during high school championships, community and business house competitions, among other things. She urged users to take care of the facilities provided.

“We recognise that there is much more to be done here and we are working on those,” Mrs. Neita Headley said. “Oftentimes I marvel…at the tremendous success of our sportsmen and sportswomen, who have triumphed despite such inadequate sporting infrastructure and I take this opportunity to say to all our athletes, ‘a grateful nation salutes all of you for your dedication and courage to proudly represent brand Jamaica against all odds’,” she said.

In his remarks, President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr. Warren Blake, noted that apart from the resurfacing works, plans are in place to improve the seating arrangements.

“The second phase of upgrading works is already in train. The contract has been given and the seats have been ordered and in pretty short order, we will be back here to open those spectator seats,” he said.

He also informed that the possibility exists for sponsors to buy tiles and have their logos inscribed on the courts.

President, Jamaica Netball Association, Marva Bernard, said she is thrilled that the courts are ready and expressed gratitude to the Government and other sponsors, who have made the venture possible.

In the meantime, Ms. Neita Headley commended the island’s netball team on their bronze medal performance at the recently concluded XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

She urged the SDF to provide some monetary compensation to the netballers.

“Netball has been one of those winning team sports for Jamaica that have always made us so proud,” she stated.

Ms. Neita Headley lauded all the sponsors, who have supported netball throughout the years and encouraged others to come on board.