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A world class aquatic centre is currently under construction at Balmain, Couva, and this is expected to bring in tremendous revenue for the country.
The idea, a brainchild of Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, is expected to lead the way in terms of sports tourism and as champion olympic swimmer George Bovell III puts it: “There are many big countries with big budgets looking to come to this part of the world to prepare for big games. Here in T&T we have all the natural assets to make us attractive. We have lovely beaches, we have lovely weather and what was missing was a world class swimming facility. Now we have that on track and we are going to put all the elements together to make it work.
“Swimmers the world over can now come to T&T and experience the great weather, beaches and have this brilliant facility to prepare for big games. We have the 2016 Olympics in Brazil coming up and it would be great for athletes to come into T&T and quietly prepare for those games.”
The facility, which is earmarked for completion in May 2015, would be FINA certified and will include a full sized warm-up pool, a main competition pool and a diving pool. There will also be a dry-diving facility for use by children. The children will be able to perfect the art of diving in foam before they take to the water.
The Aquatic Centre is next to the Cycling Velodrome and the Ato Boldon Stadium. It is also within close proximity to the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Couva, making the area the main hub of sports in the country.
Bovell III, this country’s most decorated swimmer said he has been making an input into the development of the centre and is very excited about it. “I have a construction and engineering background and given the fact that I have swam in the best pools in the world, I have been able to make an input in the development of the centre.”
Bovell III said the pool was promised to him since 2003 and he is greatful that he is still involved in the sport to use it when it’s completed. “Since 2003 I was promised an Olympic size swimming pool and nothing happened. I remember I used to joke and say that it will be called the ‘George Bovell III Memorial Swimming Pool’ and I would never be able to use it.
“I am happy now that we are getting this world class facility in Couva and that I am still involved in the sport, so I can train right here. I must say it speaks to the credibility of the minister of Sports Anil Roberts, in that he can sway the government of the day to build this facility. The Government must also be congratulated for the fact that they are putting their money where their mouth is.”