Beckles: ‘Stadium on schedule to be completed in time for world relays’
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Mar 13, 2014
Construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium is on schedule to be ready for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships in May. Workers are seeking to ensure that on May 24 and 25, The Bahamas will be well represented by not only its athletes but its facilities as well, according to officials.
“We are very excited that we’re making progress,” said Jeffrey Beckles, general manager of the National Sports Authority (NSA) during a tour of the facility yesterday.
“Yes, there are challenges like with any other project, but we are committed to make sure the Bahamian people are satisfied with our effort. We can say the Bahamian people will be proud, and The Bahamas will have great representation, a great message and a great brand so the rest of the world can see what we are about.”
Thousands of Bahamians have supported the event so far by buying tickets.
“Ticket sales are going very well,” Beckles said. “Right now we are approaching the 4,000 ticket sales number in the western section. They have not gone as smoothly and quickly as we want in the east section but the reality of it is we know we have a lot of people waiting, but essentially out of the 9,000 seats in the west almost half are gone.”
The asphalt being put down for the track itself takes 30 days to cure. It will be put through vigorous tests to ensure that it is ready and then the land markers will add the final touches to the track.
The oval shape of the track makes things a bit more challenging. Long jump pits are almost in place and the rest of the field is being set up.
Painting will begin mid to late April. According to Beckles, the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium and the Betty Kelly-Kenning National Swim Complex will be painted as well. The swim complex will be used for employee check-in during the world relays.
Large events have caused traffic problems in the past at the stadium but this year Beckles expects differently. “Our traffic management is very much under control. The Royal Bahamas Police Force is very much engaged in working out the traffic plan for the event. We will manage the traffic in and around the stadium for about a mile out to ensure that patrons have an easy entrance and exit from the stadium.”
There will also be a junior event going on during the world relays. This gives the younger athletes of The Bahamas a chance to compete in front of their home crowd.
“All local schools will be involved and there will be a preliminary event on May 9 and 10 and that will serve as a qualifier,” said Beckles.
The top eight schools from the test event on May 9 and 10 will qualify for the school relay segment of the world relays.