The National Sports Authority engaged the services of Mondo out of Italy to carry out the reconstruction of a proper-sized track.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
With the deadline for the inaugural International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Relays Bahamas 2014 fast approaching, the renovations to the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium are progressing on target.
According to Jeff Beckles, general manager of the National Sports Authority, the workmen should have the facility ready for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ Test Trial over the weekend of May 9-10 with the high schools and Family Island athletes.
As a prelude to both days of competition at the IAAF World Relays, the BAAA is scheduled to host the high school competition on Saturday (May 24) and the island competition on Sunday (May 25). Both events are slated to run from 3:30 to 4:30pm. The full programme for the World Relays is all set to get started at 5:30pm each day.
In preparation for the relays, the Bahamas Government, through the NSC, had to embark on a massive reconstruction of the stadium to meet the IAAF specifications. “We are very pleased with the way things are shaping up right now,” Beckles said. “The track has been laid down and we are trying to complete all of the work to all of the facilities in the sports complex, including the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, the swimming complex and the 150 stripe at the TAR Stadium.
“We will be using the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium for our accreditation centre, the swim complex will be utilised by our swimmers and the 150 stripe will be a part of the warm-up for the athletes. So we are making sure that not just the new stadium is ready, but all of the facilities around the stadium are also ready.”
The NSA engaged the services of Mondo out of Italy in January to carry out the reconstruction of the proper-sized track. The original one that was placed there when the People’s Republic of China constructed the facility didn’t meet the IAAF specifications.
The IAAF, however, allowed the BAAA to host the CARIFTA Games last year.
Today, the new aqua-coloured surface has been placed down by Mondo, but the lines have not yet been painted on it, the tribune for the media has been constructed and in and outside of the stadium, workmen are busy sprucing up all of the adjacent facilities.
With the CARIFTA Games completed, Beckles said there will be limited access to both the original TAR Stadium and the Betty Kelly Kenning Swimming Complex for the local track and field athletes and swimmers as workmen concentrate on completing their deadline.
“When all of the work is finished, the public will be very proud of what they see,” Beckles said. “We have been working diligently on all of the facilities and the work has been progressing very well. So we feel that we will meet all of the deadlines in having the stadium ready for the World Relays.”
A major press conference is scheduled for Thursday when full details of all of the work left, and what will happen in the final days leading up to the World Relays, will be reviewed.
But Beckles said they are pleased with what has been accomplished so far and they are making sure that the stadium is ready to take on the world next month.
If you pass by, you will be able to see workmen busy working on all apsects of the sporting complex.