Houston venue change explained by meet’s competition chief
In late November, I depicted the venue change at the 2011 National Senior Games as a bait-and-switch. That was rough. But to his credit, Competition Director Sean Gomez bravely sent me an explanation. Yesterday he wrote: “First, I want to thank all of the athletes who competed at the State Games level and who have qualified for the National event. Second, it was NOT our choice to switch venues. As a result of the Metro Rail Construction Project changing plans, we were told we would lose the majority of the field events area. The track resurfacing project was canceled and University officials could not guarantee that they would not be in full construction mode during our event. We understand many athletesâ€™ frustration.”
Sean’s note continued:
We took an extensive site visit of other venues; primarily Rice University and Humble’s Turner Stadium.
Rice University Athletics and their Track and Field coaching staff worked extremely hard presenting their facility as a possible destination, but Rice has a limited field events area, lack of ADA seating and other ancillary elements (i.e. parking, concessions and restrooms).
Turner Stadium is a world class venue. It has an amazing field events area (multiple High Jump, Long Jump, Pole Vault, Discus / Hammer rings).
It is critical that we have two of each because of the high athlete numbers in the field events. The multiple field event areas allow us to provide a more efficient schedule.
Turner Stadium has an adjacent four lane practice track and plenty of seating, concessions, restrooms, free parking, etc.
We chose this venue with USATF’s recommendation.
Humble is a beautiful area and very close to Bush Intercontinental Airport. We are working hard with Anthony Travel to find close and affordable hotels near the venue as soon as possible.
Humble’s Turner Stadium is going to host the 2012 AAU JO Games, the largest youth Track and Field meet in the United States. The Humble ISD Athletic Department has been great to work with and is doing everything thinkable to ensure a successful event in accordance to USATF & Houston Local Organizing Committee direction.
Long Live the Challenge.