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Wall Of Fame For Top Olympic And Carifta Athletes

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

The race is not for the swiftest, but for those who endure to the end.

NEXT weekend, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) will go to the polls to elect a new executive team to run the affairs of the governing body for track and field in the country.

As the door was closed on the nomination process, the names of incumbent Mike Sands, former interim president Curt Hollingsworth and newcomer Iram Lewis will be placed on the ballot sheets when the elections are held at Colina Insurance Company Limited on Collins Avenue November 17.

Over the last few weeks, both Lewis and Sands have delivered their manifesto as they try to swing the 18 executives (elected and appointed) and the 38 clubs (27 from New Providence and 11 out of Grand Bahama) in their favour. Hollingsworth has not gotten any type of media coverage like the others.

But I’m sure that they all have been on the ground making the rounds trying to convince the delegates that they are indeed the best man for the job.

While I’m not going out on a limb and claiming to be a prophet (as another media collegiate in other spheres of elections held), I would venture to say that whoever is elected has a lot of work to do.

Like the political elections, we’ve heard pledges after pledges being put forth, some that seemed far fetched and others that are attainable.

Although I’m in no way offering myself as a candidate for any position, as an observer, I would like to share one or two observations that I hope that the new administration can consider or at least pass on to the Sports Authority, which is now directly responsible for running the facilities, and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for consideration.

Have you had an opportunity to drive through the new road created in the back of the stadium and noticed the murals that are being painted on the wall of the old Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium?

Wouldn’t it be nice to turn that into a Wall of Fame where our outstanding athletes from the Carifta and Olympic Games can be displayed. A biography of each athlete’s achievement can be inscribed underneath their photos.

This could be used as a showcase and source of information, not only for our students who, from time to time, have projects on our outstanding athletes, but for those countries who will be coming to town to compete at the Carifta Games at the new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium in April.

Additionally, throughout the parking lot where all those trees have been planted, some type of monument could be erected for our stellar athletes such as Frank Rutherford, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Tonique Williams-Darling, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands and both the Golden Girls 4 x 100 relay team (Ferguson-McKenzie, Davis-Thompson, Chandra Sturrup, Sevatheda Fynes and Eldece Clarke) and the men’s 4 x 400 relay teams (Avard Moncur, Troy McIntosh, Carl Oliver, Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Timothy Munnings, Andretti Bain, Michael Mathieu, Andrae Williams, Demetrius Pinder and Ramon Miller), all of whom won medals at the Olympics.

All those athletes who would have achieved medals at both the IAAF World Championships (indoors and outdoors) as well as the World Junior and World Youth Championships, can also be considered for commendation.

From what I understand, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture intends to honour retired tennis legend Mark Knowles by naming the new highway that extends from Stapledon Gardens to the round-a-bout near Government High School as a part of their tribute to his longevity as a world class tennis player in which he won a title at all flour Grand Slams - the biggest tennis tournaments in the world - during his 20-year tenure on the pro circuit.

While it’s a fantastic gesture, I would like to see the same done for athletes like Frank Rutherford, who broke the barrier by winning the Bahamas’ first track and field medal at the Olympics in 2002 in Barcelona, Spain, with his bronze in the men’s triple jump.

If Tonique Williams-Darling can come behind and have a highway named after her back-to-back triumph in the women’s 400 metres at both the IAAF World Championships and the Olympics, why can’t one of these roads be dedicated to Rutherford for his historic feat?

There’s nothing that we can take away from history, whether or not we like him as an individual.

At the same token, I might as well put in a plug for the Golden Girls, the Golden Knights and the Silver Knights. They all could be considered on their own merit as a team by having a portion of the road or parking lot named in their honour.

These are just some recommendations that I hope the new executives will take into consideration as they move forward after the election.

As Iram Lewis – a former athlete who represented the Bahamas on two Olympic men’s 4 x 100 relay teams – says, there has to be more focus placed on the athletes who make the association. Without the athletes, there is no association.

Further, I would say that to know where you are going, you have to know where you came from.

We need to start giving honour where honour is due.

I hope that whoever is elected, we will find a way to embrace those who have not been successful because there are a lot of ideas that have been put forth. It would be a shame to see that their recommendations are not taken into consideration before they didn’t survive in the long run.

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