May 02, 2012
On Sunday, May 6, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) turns 60 years of age.
On May 6, 1952 a group of men met at the office of Alfred Francis Adderley (A.F. Adderley) to form the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association. In addition to Adderley, who was elected president, the men included 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.
One day later, May 7, 1952, the Bahamas Olympic Association (BOA) was formed. So the Bahamas Olympic Association, now Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), turns 60 next week Monday, Election Day. Sir George Roberts was the first president of the BOA. This was the year of the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
There was an effort being made for the formation of a National Olympic Committee (NOC) in order for The Bahamas to compete in the Olympic Games on its own and not Great Britain's team. It pays to note that there was a Bahamas Athletic Association in 1952, but in order to satisfy the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) requirement for national Olympic committees, it was necessary to have national federations associated to their international governing bodies. The BAAA was one of those federations and became associated with the International Amateur Athletic Association.
To do this, the BAAA had to become amateur, which it was not before 1952. Prior to 1952, several athletes who participated in other sports as professionals were permitted to participate in local track and field. With several other federations being associated with their international federations, the BOA became affiliated with the IOC. No Bahamian track and field team participated in the Helsinki Olympics, however.
Sir Durward Knowles did participate in sailing under Great Britain. Participation in track and field had to wait until 1956 in Melbourne, Australia when an 18-year-old Tommy Robinson competed in the 100 meters (m) and 200m and Sir Durward Knowles and Sloane Farrington won the bronze medal in sailing.
The BAAA hosted its first international competition in 1976, the CARIFTA Games. Since then, it has hosted five CARIFTA Games, three Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Age Group Championships, two CAC Junior Championships, one CAC Cross Country Championships, two CAC Senior Championships, one Pan American Jr. Track and Field Championships, and several one-day international competitions.
The BAAA is now the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations and won its first international medal in 1987 at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis with Frank Rutherford's bronze medal in the triple jump. The Bahamas has subsequently won gold medals in both the World Championships and the Olympic Games.
In 2007, The Bahamas finished ninth at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan with a gold medal by Donald Thomas in the high jump, and silver medals by Derrick Atkins in the 100m and by Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams, Michael Mathieu and Chris Brown in the 4x400m relay. Last year, the BAAA placed fourth in the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille, France winning three gold medals and one bronze medal.
This was the best ever performance of a Bahamian national track and field team in an IAAF competition. The BAAA has had its best performance in the annual CARIFTA Games in 25 years with its 40 medals in the recent Games in Bermuda. This summer, The Bahamas competes in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, where the country won its first Olympic medal in 1992, and the Olympic Games in London. The Bahamas is expected to do well in both events.
Next year, the BAAA hosts the 2013 CARIFTA Games in the new state-of-the-art Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The presidents over the years are: Cyril Richardson, Harold Munnings, Paul Adderley, Levi Gibson, Sir Arlington Butler, Rev. Enoch Backford, Winston Cooper, Dr. Bernard Nottage, Alpheus Finlayson, Foster Dorsett and Thomas Desmond Bannister.
Curt Hollingsworth served as interim president between October 2008 and November 2009. Cyril Richardson and Levi Gibson have passed. The current president is Mike Sands. Sir Orville Turnquest is the only living person who was there from the beginning.
The BAAA has planned several events for its anniversary, two of which are a church service on Sunday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m. at Evangelistic Temple on Collins Avenue and a luncheon in honor of presidents and original members on Sunday, May 27 at 2:00 p.m. at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
All athletes who have participated on national teams as well as team personnel as well as executives and council members of the BAAA over the past 60 years are urged to attend the church service this coming Sunday, May 6. The BAAA is requesting all persons born on May 6, 1952 to contact them at 325 4433 or 357 5834.
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