TWO well-known personalities in the world of track and field, as well as in the Anglican Church community, will be honoured this weekend at a special sporting event.
The Anglican track and field meet, “Just Bring It #10”, kicks off tomorrow at 6pm and continues on Saturday at 9am at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium. Tickets for the opening ceremony on Friday are $1; tickets for Saturday are $10 for VIP seating, $5 for general admission and $3 for children under 12.
The Anglican Track Meet is an annual event that is organised by the Diocesan Youth Department of the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The meet is sanctioned by the Bahamas Associations of Athletic Assoications (BAAA). The Anglican Diocese utilises the track meet to continue developing the youth through sporting activities.
This year’s honorees David Charlton and Laura Pratt-Charlton are well known track and field personalities and members of Holy Spirit Anglican Church in Chippingham and are being honoured for their involvement in the Anglican Church as well as their contributions to the growth and success of their sport in the Bahamas in their capacity as coaches and officials.
Mr Charlton, affectionately known as Coach Charlton, is a native of Mayaguana, but grew up in Grand Bahama. As a result of his athletic talent, he was awarded a full athletic scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, DC, and obtained a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1985.
Coach Charlton is an 11-time CAFRITA medallist and 10-year CARIFTA record holder in the 400m hurdles, and the former junior national record holder in the 400mH for 26 years (1981-2007). He was a member on national teams sent to the CAC Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Championship Games over the years.
After completing university, he was employed at both the Water and Sewerage and the Bahamas Electricity Corporations as a mechanical engineer before answering the call to entrepreneurship in 1992. He and his wife, Laura Pratt-Charlton, are the co-founders and directors of the Prescription Parlour Pharmacy group of companies.
Coach Charlton was the first Bahamian coach to receive the IAAF Level V coaching certification in sprints and hurdles. He continues to volunteer his time to the sport and has coached numerous national teams. His most notable appointment was being the head men’s coach of the 2012 Bahamas Olympic Team that won the 4x400m relay in London.
He is also the founder of the Star Trackers Track & Field Club, a non-profit youth organisation.
Four years ago he started the Star Elite Athletic Club for athletes who have completed high school or college/university and wish to continue training. He and his wife also started a boarding programme for several Moores Island athletes who were not interested in pursuing a college degree but had a desire to continue training and did not have the financial resources. They provide them with free housing and training along with employment in their business. The athletes are encouraged to enrol in a local training programme to establish a trade. The boarding programme has grown from two athletes to eight and is valued at over $25,000 annually.
In 2011, he was named “Coach of the Year” by the BAAA and a year later he was inducted into the Golden South Classic Hall of Fame in the United States for his commitment to the sport. He was also recognised by the Golden Gates Outreach Ministries Church Men’s Ministries a “Most Distinguished Father in Sports” in 2012. Then, last September, he was inducted into the Howard University Athletics Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the university’s athletic programme.
Coach Charlton’s wife, Laura, has also been very active in the world of track and field over the years.
She is a graduate of St Augustine’s College in Nassau and is a pharmacist and the CEO of the Prescription Parlour Pharmacy in Nassau and Grand Bahama. She attended the College of the Bahamas from 1980-1982, majoring in Biology and Chemistry, and graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1985 and obtained a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Howard University in Washington, DC.
Mrs Pratt-Charlton is the founding member, treasurer and team Manager of the Star Trackers Track & Field Club and has served on numerous Bahamas national track and field teams as manager, including CAC, Pan Am Junior Championships, Penn Relays, IAAF World Youth and IAAF World Junior Championships and as congress delegate to IAAF World Championships. She is a member of the BAAA and also co-chaired the Anglican Diocese Youth Department Track Classic Meet. As meet manager from 2009-2012, she was responsible for planning and managing the track meet. In 2013, Mrs Pratt-Charlton was a part of the 2013 CARIFTA Games Local Organising Committee (LOC) and the 2014 and 2015 IAAF Relays Local Organising Committee.
Mrs Pratt-Charlton is an active member of Holy Spirit Anglican Church and is a member of the Anglican Church Women (ACW) and president of the Usher’s Guild in her church.
The Charltons are the proud parents of three daughters, who are themselves former participants in the Anglican Track Meet. Their daughter Devynne Charlton competed for the Bahamas in the hurdles at the IAAF World Championships this August.