Another whetting avenue for young athletes has opened in the Turks and Caicos Islands, when Minister responsible for Sports Hon. Rachel Taylor on Tuesday, snipped the ribbon to officially commission the country’s first Performance Centre.
The facility, located at the Downtown Ball Park, not only boasts a variety of gym equipment such as dumbbells, weight-lifting apparatuses, treadmill and biking gear, but also a therapy room.
Sports Commission Director Jarett Forbes told NewslineTCI that the centre cost government approximately $100,000 to renovate and retrofit the facility, which is located beneath the bleachers at the sporting complex.
Forbes pointed out that the resource centre is solely designed to assist athletes with strength and endurance development, not to sharpen a player’s skill in a particular area of sport.
“It is all about training the body, training the mind to operate at the highest level. What athletes will be exposed to with this facility will translate to all sporting disciplines, to allow them to perform at their highest peak,” he reiterated.
Forbes added: “Being part of sports for such a very long time, I realize that the skills level will only take you so far… natural talent will only take you so far. There comes a time where an athlete has to be highly developed in order to compete on the international or on the world stage.
“We have a lot of local athletes who have natural talent or certain level of skill, but when it comes to their fitness level, this is where their strength becomes an issue. Their conditioning becomes an issue... their endurance, speed, certain body mechanics become an issue.”
Forbes pointed out that as a government entity, the Sports Commission’s job is to facilitate whatever needs the various federations might have and to work in partnership with them.
“That is the purpose of this facility. This facility is designed to accommodate all of our national athletes…to assist our national federations with training of their national teams along the line of sports performance,” he said.
Travis Crittenden, Sports Performance Director at the Sports Commission, explained that the opening of the facility dawns a programme for athletes to augment their general performance on the field of their respective sports.
He said they would get the opportunity to measure, assess and obtain specific attributes necessary to perform at an optimum level.
“That's what this centre is all about,” Crittenden said. “It is giving our athletes in the programme a system and a location, where they can come and train those attributes to become successful.”
He told the audience that in addition to getting athletes endurance-ready in their area of sport, the Performance Centre would also offer lifestyle guidance.
“We would certainly like to talk with them and mentor them with nutritional information and just basic life. We tend to throw athletes in this world of sports and say run fast, go get it. But there is so much more to it,” Crittenden noted.
Crittenden, who is also running a Sports Commissioned-sanctioned summer fitness and endurance programme across the country, said he is confident that the initiative would greatly benefit the participating youngsters.
For her part, Minister Taylor christened the event as a great day for sports development in the country.
“Today is a great day in the Turks and Caicos Islands as it relates to sports. When I look at the Performance Centre, I look back at how beneficial it would be to our young athletes of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Taylor asserted.
She said while the facility is open to all athletes, they would need to be accompanied by a coach, in order to ensure proper usage of the various training equipment and to prevent injuries. She said the centre is geared to create podium athletes.
In the meantime, Trevor Cooke, Vice President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Commonwealth Games Association, and who deputized for President Godfrey Been at the event, lauded the Sports Commission for the move he described as innovative and relevant.
He said the Director of the Sports Commission has started great things and will continue to do great things, and as such, urged support for him.
“And so, you need to support him, because every move he makes is in our best interest, especially to us, who are athletes,” Cooke said.