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BAAA to honor past presidents this Sunday

Grand affair expected to conclude organization’s 60th anniversary celebrations
  • The BAAA has announced plans to honor its past presidents this Sunday at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Pictured from left are BAAA Public Relations Officer Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson, BAAA President Mike Sands, BAAA First Vice President Sherwin Stuart and BAAA Special Projects Officer Linda Thompson. FILE PHOTO

KELSIE JOHNSON
Guardian Sports Reporter
kelsie@nasguard.com

Published: May 25, 2012

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Individually honoring past presidents will be a challenge for Mike Sands, head of the governing body of track and field in the country, who believes that people should “get their flowers” while they are alive.

Sands is willing to explore the idea well after the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is held. A red carpet affair is planned for Sunday, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. All athletes and supporters are invited to attend, and are asked to be seated by 2 p.m.

“We plan to have a grand celebration as we recognize the founding fathers and Sir Orville Turnquest who is the sole survivor,” said BAAA President Sands. “We expect the past presidents to be there. Their response has been great, and this is coming from them and their family members who will be joining them in the celebration on this special occasion. This is rare and we want to recognize them for the vision and the contribution they had in bringing our sport to where it is. We stand on their shoulders and the vision lives on, so I am looking forward with great anticipation and excitement to be able to celebrate with one of the founders and the past presidents.”

The association was founded on May 6, 1952. At that time the association was called the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association. A group of young men met at the office of Alfred F. Adderley, who was later elected the president. Joining Adderley on the first slate were Cecil V. Bethel, Gerald Cash, Edwin Davies, Reginald Farrington, Randol Fawkes, Joseph Garfunkle, Kendal Isaacs, Edward Mitchell, Fred Moultrie, Cyril Richardson and Reginald John Robertson.

That same year the association was adopted by the international body, the International Amateur Athletic Association (IAAA), but did not compete in the Helsinki Games. The first international games, since the formation of the group, was in 1956. Those games were held in Melbourne, Australia. Thomas Augustus Robinson competed in the 100 and 200 meters (m) that year. Skippers Sir Durward Knowles and Sloane Farrington won the bronze medal in sailing in the Star Class.

Sands added: “What makes it so important and different from the others is that most of the organizations start out with all good intentions and somewhere along the line it dies and you don’t hear about them anymore. The fact that the BAAA has constantly grown from strength to strength over the last 60 years, and that a number of persons have been involved, speaks well to the organization and the vision of the founders. They had to believe and still believe in the

organization.

“Again, you have a number of persons who are involved in something but you don’t hear about them anymore, but when you look at the list of persons who have served like Sir Arlington Butler, who went on to become the president of the BOA, and Dr. [Bernard] Nottage, they are still around and always available for advice. This is also the case with Desmond Bannister. I seek advice from all of the past presidents. We have a very good relationship. I think that it happens, mainly because they recognize that this is an organization that they were once a part of and have made their contributions and want to see grow. I think that the strength of the BAAA is the relationship that has been built from the past presidents and members in general.”

A church service was held on May 6 at Evangelistic Temple. The service was the start of the grand celebration. Even though all of the past presidents were in attendance, Sands believes that more needs to be done to show gratitude and appreciation. He said it is important for them to recognize them individually, and that there aren’t enough events on the calendar to single each and everyone out, but he does agree that meets and various championships should be held in honor of these men.

 

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