The forty-thousand-capacity National Stadium was built to coincide with Jamaica’s independence celebrations in 1962; the first event here was the raising of the new nation’s black, green and gold flag, and the 1966 Commonwealth Games were held here. Known affectionately to local sports fans as “The Office”, the stadium hosts most of Jamaica’s premier sporting events; the facilities for athletics, swimming, netball, basketball and cycling are first-rate, but the centrepiece is the refurbished football pitch and athletics track – home to the national football team, fondly known as the Reggae Boyz, and Jamaica’s track and field superstars – surrounded by towering aisles of bleachers and overlooked by arc lights. Just inside the railings by the car park is a statue of Jamaican athlete Herb McKinley coming off the starting blocks; at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, McKinley became the first man in the world to run in the 200-, 400- and 800-metre races.

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