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Aug 17, 2009

Groundbreaking for Marion Jones Sporting Complex

Story PictureMarion Jones won five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. She won the hearts of Belizeans when she showed how proud she was of the Jewel by pulling out the Belizean flag as she made a victory lap. There were plans to transform the National Stadium into the Marion Jones stadium. But that dream didn’t quite come to fruition and that was mirrored by her personal strife. And after delays, it seems that finally a sports complex worthy of her struggles and accomplishments will be established. This afternoon Minister of Sports, Elvin Penner signed the contract and broke ground for the first phase that will hopefully transform the stadium into the country’s premier sporting facility.

Elvin Penner, Minister of Sports
“We have finally completed our plans and drawings and everything for the fence, so that is actually what is being signed here today. But very shortly as we move along, the next step will be the grand stand, which is behind us, which will be demolished and rebuilt. Of course, together with that we will have the football pitch being upgraded and the one thing that we definitely have to make sure is that it’s gonna get the proper lighting facilities as well so we can play our international matches there as well. After they put the pitches, will be track and field, which we are still consultation with some of the international organizations on what is the actual finishing that we will be putting on it. I think, from what I am hearing so far, is that it has to be some kind of artificial turf so it qualifies for all international track and field matches and of course, together with that, we will have the track around the stadium, which is used by the joggers and the cyclists. So basically, it’s the football, track and field, cyclists and the joggers will be using it quite a bit.”

Jose Sanchez
“What will be the actual cost when it’s complete?”

Elvin Penner
“I think the monies budgeted for it are between twelve to fourteen million dollars somewhere. I would not be surprised if at the end of the day, we certainly have to pool together some more funding to complete the project. The reason it’s being done in phases is that at least if we for some reason don’t have the funding together, we have some part of the project completed. The football pitch that we’re going to work on—if you see the pitch the football pitch is not bad that we have here right now but according to what I have been made to understand is that the size is not quite official. So we’re gonna work on the size of it. It’s going to be expanded and of course, the lighting is the major thing that has failed us so far when it comes to international standards. It will be a FIFA standard field. One of the most important part of this contract is the track and field, which is very much what the Marion Jones was known for. So I believe that will still be quite fitting for us to be doing this project being that it’s the Marion Jones Stadium.”

Marion Jones’ uncle, senator Godwin Hulse was at the groundbreaking, but interestingly enough, he was not on the list of speakers for the ceremony.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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