The National Stadium
The Barbados National Stadium Corporation was established by an Act of Parliament on the 5th May 1966 and was authorized inter alia, to undertake the development of a National Stadium. The stated objectives of the Corporation were to provide a Stadium adequate for the continued development of sports in Barbados.
The National Stadium of Barbados, all five stands, 500 meter cycling track, athletic track and surroundings situated at Waterford, St. Michael was built between 1968 to 1970, and served as the major training, recreational and showcasing facility for hundreds of Barbadian and International athletes over the years.
To the average Barbadian, the building and strategic location of this facility might not be readily known. In fact only those of a bygone generation intimately knowledgeable of the details can conclusively relate to its origins.
The National Stadium was originally not slated to be built at Waterford but Weymouth, (opposite the Globe theatre), however the foundation there contained water and was quite soft precluding any large scale building activity at the time. The Government of the day was able to acquire a portion of land at the present Waterford site donated by the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) an international organization of young men and women who joined together to improve their lives and their communities. Funds were acquired through the Jaycees Radio Bingo games.
To this day a commemorative gate for the Jaycees is affixed on the Stadium grounds, this was formally done on 11th July, 1997.
Capital construction cost, not including the cost of land, was approximately two million dollars (BDS $2,000,000) financed as follows :
(a) Grant from the Jaycees in the sum of four hundred and fifty thousand ($450,000)
(b) Grant from the Government of Barbados and loans from Barclays Bank
The actual structure of the Stadium was in fact a stroke of good fortune - temporary stands were erected at the Garrison Savannah for the Independence Celebration on November 30, 1966. These stands were designed by Consulting Engineers Partnership Limited (CEP), while International Construction Ltd located at the Deep Water Harbour now the site of the Harbour Industrial Estate, built the precast units including the H-truss, sloping beams and seating slabs. A Mr. Mcleod from Fontabelle built the steel trusses and the roofs.
After the use of these stands for the Independence Celebrations, no other use was decided for them as they did not suit the ambiance of the Garrison. The authorities had considered dismantling and throwing the debris to the refuse, until it was decided that the structure could be used for the construction of the Stadium. The entire structure was then transported from the Garrison to the site at Waterford, where they remain to this day.
During the initial building phase, staff members (men and women alike) pitched in to help mix the concrete which formed various other structures of the facility.
The Prince of Wales officially opened the Stadium on October 23,1970. It consisted of stands named A, B, C and D respectively and a cycling velodrome . During the 32 years period, the Stadium has been the home for athletics, cycling and football, along with live entertainment featuring both local and overseas artistes. The facility also played an integral part in our National festival, Crop Over, with many featured events being held in the National Stadium during the months of July to August.
During the late 1990's the Board of the National Sports Council agreed to name the stands, velodrome and the gates after persons who contributed significantly both on the field of play and administratively, to the development of sports in Barbados. The stands A, B, C and D, the cycling velodome and gates were renamed in 1995 to the following :-
Stand A: Clarence Jemmott (Deceased)
Stand B: O'Donnell `Don' Norville (Deceased)
Stand C: James `Jim' Wedderburn
Stand D: Patsy Callender (Deceased)
Velodrome: Randolph Fields (Deceased)
Entrance gate to Louis Lynch stand: Christie Smith (Deceased)
Exit gate to Louis Lynch stand: Reginal Haynes (Deceased)
Mr. Clarence Jemmott (Deceased)
He represented Barbados in athletics and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Barbados Football Association for a number of years. He served as chief of Protocol for the Barbados Olympic Association, the Amateur Athletic Association and the Barbados Football Association, whenever important events were held at the National Stadium. He was a former board member of the National Sports Council.
Mr. O'Donnell `Don' Norville (Deceased)
He played football and cricket at the competitive level. Former manager of Barbados National Football team, former member of the Executive Committee of the Barbados Football Association, and was also a Life member of that Association. He was a football referee and the first Barbadian to be a FIFA referee. He was a former member of the National Sports Council and Chairman of the Barbados Boxing Board of Control. He was also a commentator and sports journalist.
Mr. James `Jim' Wedderburn
He was one of the country's most outstanding athletes and up to the year 2000 was the only Barbadian who won a medal at the Olympic Games. He was a member of a representative West Indies team in the 4x400 meters relay, which won the bronze medal at the 1960 Olympics. He also served as Deputy Chairman of the board of the National Sports Council.
Miss. Patsy Callender (Deceased)
She was one of Barbados' top athletes who represented the country with distinction at many regional and international events.
Mr. Randolph `Rannie' Fields (Deceased)
He was instrumental in the formation of the Barbados Cycling Union in 1958, and as its first President, was responsible for the first international cycling event to be held at the National Stadium. He also held the posts of Secretary and Treasurer of the Barbados Cycling Union. During the construction of the Velodrome, Mr. Fields was able to obtain expert advice from the regional body, at a time when the construction of the velodrome appeared to be incorrect. He was the first Chairman of the National Sports Council.
Mr. Christie Smith (Deceased)
He held the office of Secretary, Barbados Football Association for many years, longer than any other individual. During the period of his tenure of office he exhibited a quality of professionalism which will be remembered by all who worked with him.
Mr. Reginal Haynes (Deceased)
He was one of the outstanding footballers in Barbados and was a member of the National team for many years. He had the distinction of being a member of the representative West Indies team that toured England during 1958. He was a former coach at the National Sports Council.