|BAAA honors past presidents and founders|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: May 29, 2012
Arguably the most successful sporting organization in the country over the past 60 years wrapped up its anniversary celebrations, on Sunday, with a grand reception honoring its founders and past presidents.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) was born out of the law office of the late great Bahamian Alfred F. Adderley, on May 6, 1952. It was established through the efforts of 13 founding fathers, including the only living founder today, Sir Orville Turnquest, and since that time, the organization has been led by 14 presidents including incumbent president Mike Sands. On Sunday, those gentlemen were recognized for the part they played in creating the BAAA and sustaining its growth and success over the years.
The event, which was held in the foyer of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, was well attended by past and present athletes, coaches, administrators and sporting enthusiasts. Family members of six of the founders were on hand, and received certificates and plaques in honor of the respective founder. All of the past presidents of the BAAA also received certificates, plaques and commemorative photos.
Sands, who served as president from 2006-08, and again from 2009-present day, said that it was only fitting that they honor those great men in this fashion.
“We were very pleased with the results of our efforts to recognize the founding fathers and past presidents of the BAAA,” said Sands on Sunday. “Here we are celebrating 60 years of athletic and academic excellence, and the BAAA stand on the shoulders of those visionary men who sat in A.F. Adderley’s office on May 6, 1952. They contributed greatly to not only track and field, but sports in general, and we wanted to give tribute to them in a very tangible way. There are a lot of family members and friends of the founders here, and most of the past presidents are here as well, and I’m very pleased that this evening turned out the way it did.”
Sands, who will be running for office again in November of this year, said that through the efforts of the founders and past presidents that the BAAA was able to flourish athletically and academically for more than half of a century. Bahamian athletes have won gold medals at every level of track and field, and until the last Olympiad in Beijing, China, The Bahamas enjoyed a significant time period when the country was the per capita champion of the Olympic Games. Sands said that he welcomes all challenges to the president’s chair this November, but at the same time wishes that more and more people will get involved with what is currently going on, thereby making a meaningful contribution.
“We always welcome volunteers because the organization runs on volunteers, but persons should not just seek office because they want to be a part of it,” said Sands. “We appreciate volunteers because you can always contribute something to take the organization to the next level, instead of running for office because you might have a dislike for someone. Join us as opposed to fighting with us. We are open and we need more help and more support. A number of persons are expressing their interest in moving on and those voids have to be filled. We want to continue a normal progression and we are inviting people to join us and make that happen.”
Between Sands’ terms as president, Curt Hollingsworth served as interim president of the association. Past president Dr. Bernard Nottage, who today serves as the minister of national security and leader of government business in the House of Assembly, said that it was through the efforts of past BAAA President Winston ‘Gus’ Cooper, that the CARIFTA Games was brought to The Bahamas for the first time, and the country embarked on a significant journey since, that has not ended as yet.
“I just want to praise past president Gus Cooper for the vision to host the CARIFTA Games and take The Bahamas off on a journey toward athletic excellence,” said Minister Nottage. “CARIFTA was held here for the first time in 1976, and we transformed it into a first class event.
“This great organization, the BAAA, has been led by persons who would have not only contributed toward athletic development, but national development as well. It has gotten better with each succession, and I want to congratulate all of the past presidents for all that you would have achieved and all that you are continuing to do. Also, I wish to offer you my support in your future endeavors. I can assure you that through the new minister of youth, sports and culture, myself and the prime minister, we will do our best to support you, and all sporting organizations, and that you can look forward to a government to provide sustainable support in the coming years.”
Dr. Nottage said that The Bahamas, through the BAAA, was the main player in the ‘one country, one vote’ rule at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) level, and also played a major role in the decision to have the international age for juniors correspond with the CARIFTA age for juniors.
The founders of the association are Adderley, Sir Orville, Sir Kendal Isaacs, Sir Randol Fawkes, Edwin Davies, Fred Moultrie, Edward Mitchell, C.V. Bethel, Joseph Garfunkle, Reginald Farrington, Reginald Robertson, Cyril Richardson and Sir Gerald Cash.
The past presidents are Adderley, Richardson, Harold Munnings, Levi Gibson, Sir Arlington Butler, Enoch Backford, Winston ‘Gus’ Cooper, Dr. Nottage, Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson, Foster Dorsett, Desmond Bannister, Paul Adderley, Curt Hollingsworth and current president Mike Sands.