Bahamian track and field: A strong founding body
Published: May 22, 2012
It was a very good year. The Helsinki Olympic Games was held in 1952. Queen Elizabeth II went on the throne that year.
It was a great year. The Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association, the forerunner of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) was formed that year.
The Bahamas wanted to participate in the Olympic Games for the very first time. Sure, Sir Durward Knowles had participated in London in 1948 but it was for Great Britain. In order for The Bahamas to have a team we needed to have an Olympic committee. For that to happen, several national federations who were registered by their international bodies had to get together.
The BAAA was formed on May 6, 1952 in the offices of renowned attorney Alfred Francis (A.F.) Adderley. With this accomplished, the Bahamas Olympic Association was formed the next day, May 7 1952 with Sir George Roberts as president.
The other founding members of the BAAA were: C.V. Bethel, Gerald Cash, Edwin Davies, Randol Fawkes, Reginald Farrington, Joseph Garfunkel, Kendal Isaacs, Edward Mitchell, Fred Moultrie, Cyril Richardson, Reginald Robertson and Orville Turnquest.
No Bahamian track and field team participated in Helsinki that year but Sir Durward Knowles and Cecil Cooke participated in Star Class Sailing.
Historic feat 25 years before
A total of 25 years before the founding of the BAAA, one Bahamian was large on the athletic scene in the United States. Charley Major had one of the best jumps in the world while he competed for St. Bonaventure University in New York. His jump of 6’ 5-5/8” in the 1927 Milrose Games was just 5/8” lower than the Milrose Games record. For that, he was named the third most outstanding performer of the 1927 Milrose Games. Major was injured prior to the 1928 Olympic Games.
The founding members of the BAAA were quite an able group as we can see. They would be exceedingly happy to see just how far the body has come. Gold medals have been won in every level of competition, from the CARIFTA Games to the World Championships and the Olympic Games. The name placed upon us by a German sports historian, ‘The Bahamas – Small Country, Great Athletes!’
It is them and the presidents that we will celebrate on Sunday, May 27 at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
We hope that you will make an effort to be there for this most appropriate celebration.