The inaugural Bahamas Bowl in December 2014 will be played in Nassau’s state-of-the-art Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, located in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre.
The 15,000-seat stadium, a gift to The Bahamas from the People’s Republic of China, was dedicated February 25, 2012 by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in ceremonies witnessed by thousands of Bahamians. The original Thomas Robinson Stadium was built in 1981, and work on the new National Stadium at an adjacent site began in July 2009 at a cost of $30 million.
The 190,452-square-foot facility features covered chairback seating on two sides, seating for disabled spectators, broadcast/coaches/game operations booths, a natural grass field for American football and soccer and an IAAF-certified track surface. Renovations to the stadium, including a new track and auxiliary press area, were completed in May 2014.
Robinson National Stadium is named after Thomas Augustus Robinson, MBE. Robinson was the sole competitor for The Bahamas on the world stage for many years. He competed in four Olympic Games, starting in 1956 in Melbourne, followed by Rome in 1960, Tokyo in 1964 and Mexico City in 1968. He became the first Bahamian to win a medal in international competition, a Bronze Medal in the 100-meter dash in the 1957 West Indian Federation Games in Kingston, Jamaica. He was also a part of the 400-meter relay team which also won a bronze medal.
At the 1958 British Empire Games in Cardiff, Wales, Robinson won a gold medal in the 220-yard dash and a silver in the 100-yard dash. He came back in the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games to win a silver medal in the 100, a feat he repeated in the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. He also won a gold medal at the 1962 Central American and Caribbean Games.
Robinson won nine Big Ten Conference titles as a sprinter at the University of Michigan from 1959-61. He was inducted into Michigan’s Hall of Honor in 1985 and the inaugural class of Michigan’s Men’s Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2006.
Discussions on the new stadium had begun some nine years before, with Robinson himself chairing the initial and final committee on the stadium. Robinson died November 25, 2012, just two days after the celebration of his participation in the Melbourne Olympics and before he could see the facility that bears his name in use.
The facility has been the site for soccer – Tottenham Hotspur (English Premier League) vs. Jamaica international friendly May 23, 2013 – and track – the 42nd Carifta Games in 2013 and the 2014 IAAF World Relay Championships.