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National Sports Centre to extend free use to top teams and athletes

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On target: Bermuda's football team could be spending more time at the National Sports Centre. Photo by Chris Burville

Bermuda’s national teams and athletes could soon be taking advantage of the training facilities at the National Stadium on a more regular basis after the government extended the grace period of free use.

As it stands, governing bodies and athletes pay for stadium use out of their own funds up until two weeks before the start of major off-island competition when they are eligible to use the facilities at no cost but in a ministerial statement to the senate yesterday, Owen Darrell, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, revealed the time period for free use has been extended to two months.

Citing the government’s five-year national sports policy, which was announced in October and has the goal of helping Bermudian achieving sporting excellence regionally, Minister Darrell explained the reasoning behind the decision.

The Canadian Swim Team in action in the pool, which can be used for international preparation (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“According to Global Human Performance, athletes training 10-15 hours per week were consistently making good improvements in their progress. Often this looks like five days of a two-hour practice with two to three days of additional training in strength, skills, endurance and speed training.

The NSC booking policy currently states, ‘National Teams receive complimentary training time access at the NSC two weeks prior to NSC approved international off-island competitions. The National Team practices must be comprised of at least 85% team members’.”

Elite Bermudian athletes now have the opportunity to train for free for longer at the National Sports Centre (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“Outside of the aforementioned timeframe, Madam President, national athletes and teams must pay to use the NSC facilities in preparation for international competition. It must be noted that preparation for international sport begins months prior. This can be costly, and we have national teams representing Bermuda that are insufficiently prepared as their budget dictates the frequency of training.”

With Bermuda’s cricket team attempting to qualify for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2024 and Bermuda’s football team taking part in 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup qualifiers, Mr Darrell is hopeful the move will be a pathway to improved performance.

All facilities at the National Sports Centre, including the hockey pitch, can be used for international preparation

“Madam President, as our National Sports of Football and Cricket prepare for their busy 2023 international duties with Gold Cup, World Cup and ICC qualifier, they and all national sporting governing bodies now have increased access to the NSC to do so.

“Accordingly, the Government will continue to find ways to help raise the value of sport in Bermuda and increase participation and regional success for all.”

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Published December 15, 2022 at 7:35 am (Updated December 15, 2022 at 7:54 am)

National Sports Centre to extend free use to top teams and athletes

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