By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THROUGH a special donation from World Athletics, the governing body for track and field around the world, Pauline Davis made a presentation of 450 copies of her book, Running Sideways, to the Ministry of Education, Technical and Vocational Training.
The presentation was made yesterday in the foyer of the Ministry of Education and Youth, Sports and Culture. Accepting on behalf of Minister Glenys Hanna- Martin was Minister of State Zane Lightbourne.
Also present was Mario Bowleg, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture. Various dignitaries from both ministries were also on hand to share in the ceremony.
Although they are not her biological parents, Mistress of Ceremony Dianne Phillips was referred to by Davis as her “mom” and Livingston Marshall, whom she called her “father” for their support of her and her efforts over the years, not just as the most decorated Bahamian track and field athlete, but in becoming a member of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Council, now known as World Athletics, in 2007.
“I am delighted to be here and to make this presentation from World Athletics,” Davis said. “World Athletics is an organisation that is bigger than the United Nations. There are 214 countries that makes up World Athletics, of which the Bahamas is one of them.”
The 285-page memoir was written by Jeff Todd, a former Nassau Guardian business editor and the author of five books. He writes under the name of TR Todd.
While she would have served as a Councilmember for two four-year terms after she officially retired as an athlete, Davis is still active as a local coach in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations and is a consultant at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
She said she’s pleased to have received the donation from World Athletics and president Lord Sebastian Coe to pass on to the Bahamian people, who she dedicated the book in their memory.
In accepting the books, Lightbourne thanked Davis for her contribution to the nation-building of the Bahamas, citing her as a household name that carries a lot of weight.
He thanked Davis for providing the story of her tribulations and trials and success and failures to the students as an incentive for them to have a role model to follow and to emulate.
Bowleg, in his comments, noted how proud he and his ministry are of Davis’ accomplishment and while he didn’t get to read the book in its entirity, he said it’s a must-read for those young people in the school system to learn about the achievement of one of the greatest Bahamian athletes ever. In the book, Bowleg said the readers will get a chance to learn about the exploits of Davis, who would have won the Olympic gold in the women’s 200m in Sydney, Australia in 2000 along with the other members of the Golden Girls on the women’s 4 x 100 metre relay.
Davis, along with Savatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and Eldece Clarke, also teamed up to win the gold medal at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain.
In 1995, Davis also captured a silver in the 400m at the World Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. She also secured silver and bronze in the 200m at the World Indoor Championships in 1995 in Barcelona, Spain and 1999 in Maebashi, Japan respectively. She was also a bronze medallist in the 100m and 200m in Auckland, New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games and was double gold medallist at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1986 in Santiago, Chile in the 100 and 200m.
The 55-year-old Davis is a former LW Young and Government High School star, who went on to become one of the Austin Sealy most outstanding athletes at the 1984 CARIFTA Games here in the Bahamas. She was a graduate of the University of Alabama.