WORK IN PROGRESS: Repairs continue at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium ahead of the World Athletics Relays set for May 4-5
By TENAJH SWEETING
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE World Athletics Relays will serve as one of the final opportunities for athletes hailing from over 40 countries to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
With that being said, the elite performers can expect to compete on a “world- class” track as extensive renovations continue at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium leading up to May’s sporting extravaganza.
Dr Daniel Johnson, chairman of the World Relays, gave some insight into the repair process following a site visit along with the World Athletics technical team last week. “The roughing is being done now. Mondo, who does the track, is here and when that roughing is done they lay down the track which takes them only four weeks to do. The Chinese are here, who are doing a great job for us in building it. We are back in major construction renovation and you will see the first phase will be ready for May. The second phase will be ready at the end of this year and the third phase will be next summer and we will have a completely refitted, outfitted, world-class facility,” the chairman said.
The facelift of the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium began on November 1 of last year. Following a seven-year hiatus, The Bahamas was re-awarded the rights to host the World Athletics Relays 24 after a successful campaign in 2022.
Robert Mouzas, acting director of works, is actively working on the ground at the venue and gave a progress update on the ongoing repairs from his vantage point.
“There are several works going on here. We have the track being replaced by Bahamas Hot Mix and Mondo. The track is a world-class track that will be used for the World Relays in May 2024. The roof to the East stand is being replaced so the Chinese contractor has removed the existing roof and he is putting a new steel truss roof back on which will be completed by the end of March,” Mouzas said.
The work being done to the Western Grandstand is also expected to be wrapped up by the end of March. Meanwhile, the former massive displays that resided on the northern and southern parts of the stadium will be demolished during construction.
“The Western grandstand roof is being made safe. We are looking into the possibility of putting a temporary covering — for rain protection mainly. There are some concrete works to be done still, and some repairs to the railings and some general painting that will all be done by the end of March,
“Also, the two big score- boards at both ends of the stadium are being demolished and, for the World Relays, we are gonna use temporary structures for the jumbotrons or LED screens,” he said.
Officials have expressed their confidence in the repairs concluding in time for a grand fourth hosting of the World Relays in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas first hosted the previously known IAAF Relays in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
The event will provide athletes with the chance to qualify in five events — the men and women’s 4x100 metres, 4x400m and mixed relays at the two-day competition.