Deputy Director of Sports Oria Wood-Knowles, Hall of Fame inductee Jenny Isaacs-Dotson and Minister Mario Bowleg at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture press conference. Photo credit - Andrew Laroda.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
SPORTS Heritage Month is here and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is looking forward to inducting its latest Hall of Famers, selecting its outstanding athletes, teams and coaches as well as staging a number of other activities to bring the community together.
At a press conference yesterday at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, plans were announced for the activities that will be held under the theme “United in Sports - A Golden Jubilee.”
The highlight of the month will be the National Sports Awards that will take place on the lawn of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture at 6:30pm on Saturday when 12 new members of the National Sports Hall of Fame will be inducted.They are former long-time Bahamas Olympic Committee executive Lawrence Davis for basketball; former Bahamas Football Association president Anton Sealey for soccer; Olympian Allan Murray for swimming; businessman Craig Flowers for golf; coach Peter Pratt for track and field; legendary Mark Knowles for tennis; Irvin Taylor for cricket; Bahamas Softball Federation president Jenny Isaacs-Dotson for volleyball; Grand Bahamian Yvonne Lockhart for softball; multi-talented James Sam ‘Ironman’ Brown for cycling; veteran Bahamas Boxing Commissioner Fernley Palmer for boxing and Isaacs-Dotson, in responding on behalf of the honourees, thanked the ministry for including them as the latest inductees.
The former versatile volleyball and softball standout noted that they are all “looking forward” to the event and grateful for being recognised for their “accomplishments” as so many others have gone unnoticed.
Oria Wood-Knowles, the deputy director of Sports, thanked the Ministry for putting on what is expected to be another spectacular event as they reflect on the past 50 years of Independence and the sporting memories performed by the athletes and witnessed by the spectators.
Wood-Knowles, one of the greatest all-around female athletes who is just to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, said it’s important to be able to relive the thrills and spills that occurred and that is why it is so important to recognize the movers and shakers in the past.
“We just can’t say thank you enough,” Wood-Knowles said, on behalf of the ministry, to the athletes and sports administrators for the roles they all played in nation building. “We are truly grateful for the things that you have done.”
The ministry will also be presenting awards to the recipients of the male and female Junior High School Student Athlete of the Year; junior and senior National Secondary Athletic School of the Year; National Team of the Year; Tourism Impact Award; National Sportsmanship Award; male and female Senior High School Student Athlete of the Year; Community Sports Award; Olympic Committee Award; Tourism Ambassador Award; Minister of Sports Award for Excellence; male and female Family Island School Student Athlete of the Year; Family Island Coach of the Year; National Coach of the Year; Leevan Sands Courage Award; Prime Minister Award for National Pride; male and female Collegiate Athlete of the Year; Youth National Team of the Year; Federation of the Year; male and female Athletes of the Year with Disability and Sports League of the Year.
Minister Bowleg indicated the importance of recognizing sports for the contributions that they would have made to nation building and his staff is making sure those deserving of the awards receive their accolades.
“Sports is a universal and timeless principal that transience the boundaries of nations and background, he said. “Therefore, our sports department team is most fitting at this time. Sports is the purest form. It’s not about the competition, but really about bringing people together, developing friendship and understanding the value of being a teammate in the game of life.”
Bowleg congratulated both the inductees and the honorees
During the press conference, there was a replay of the men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team of Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller in winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games in London, England in 2012 and the Golden Girls’ 4 x 100m relay team of Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie for their victory at the Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, Australia.
While the awards presentation and induction ceremony will be the focus of attention this weekend, Bowleg encouraged the public to get involved in the 30 days of activities planned by his ministry to “whip you into shape, honor and celebrate and inspire” as they celebrate the country’s Golden Jubilee Year,
Also on Saturday starting at 9 am, there will be a celebrity golf tournament at the Bahamas Golf Federation’s Driving Range and as public service softball tournament at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
A number of other activities including a Church service at Zion Baptist Church on East and Shirley Street, starting at 11 am; Total body resent fitness classes that starts on Mondasy, November 6 at 6 pm; tennis, volleyball and softball tournaments and a fun run/walk Sports Health fair.