Kensington Oval to be ready ahead of schedule

Kensington Oval, which will host the 2007 World Cup final, will be ready ahead of schedule according to its redevelopers. The stadium was demolished last year and redevelopment began to increase seating capacity from 16,000 to 28,000.

With the pitches re-laid and fresh grass growing on the outfield, Miles Weekes, the chief facilities development officer for Barbados, expects the work to be completed ahead of the scheduled date sometime next January. He also said that the testing of the new surface will be first carried out in September.

"The pitch and field work have been completed and we are beginning to clear away the area in preparation for the temporary stand, which we anticipate will get going in earnest in September," Weekes told SuperCricket.

GL Events, a Lyon-based French company, received the contract to build a temporary stand which will hold 16,000 spectators. "GL Events is here and it is preparing that stand to take its place. The pitch and field are also taking shape and the intention is that by September we will be able to implement matches to see how the pitches are doing and how the outfield is coping."

Meanwhile, Vancourt Rouse, the chief operations officer of the Barbados Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the World Cup, announced that the needs of residents living around the Kensington Oval will be taken into consideration ahead of the event.

"We are now engaged in a house to house canvass of every single house, in the area, talking to residents and ascertaining their needs in terms of vehicular passes and so on," Rouse told the Barbados Advocate. "We will engage every single business in the area, so that we understand, their needs and then make arrangements for the issuance of passes ... this is a duty of care. The residents ... are really the hosts of the event and we rely on them to help us to secure the event. They are in some way inconvenienced by the running of the event. The whole point is not to stop people from doing things but to have an orderly process."

Chris DeCaires, the chairman of the Barbados LOC, reiterated Rouse's claims that the people of the island were involved in World Cup preparations. "There are a lot of people working...everyone has actually taken on additional responsibility. The workforce, the Ministry of Transport and Works are definitely putting in extra hours, the National Cultural Foundation are working extra time to make it work."

Kensington Oval is scheduled to host four warm-up matches, six Super Eight matches and the final on April 28.