‘We Must Continue To Recognise Our Past Sporting Heroes’
#By RENALDO DORSETT
#SPORTS Heritage week concluded when the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture officially welcomed its newest additions to the National Sports Hall of Fame.
#The 21-member class of 2013 joined the hallowed ranks in an induction ceremony at Government House Friday night.
#His Excellency the Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes presented each of the 17 living, and families of the four posthumous inductees, with framed “certificates of induction” and for the first time in Hall of Fame history, aquamarine commemorative blazers.
#Dr Gail North Saunders delivered the athletes’ response on behalf of her fellow classmates.
#“For me, and I think I speak for all other honourees, we never expected recognition. We trained, we competed, we did it with love for our nation and its people and it is with great humility that we accept the accolades that you have bestowed on us,” she said. “On behalf of the National Sports Hall of Fame of this year, I thank the government of the Bahamas and the minister and all the staff who have assisted with the plans for this wonderful celebration.”
#Dr Saunders said the prolific success the Bahamas has experienced in recent years in the international arena had its roots planted decades ago by members of the class of 2013.
#“Today’s athletes have benefitted from members of this class, building on their efforts to excel in their chosen fields, many who are being honoured today. We participated because we love sports and our country, we may not have become Olympians or set world records but we tried our best and inspired a younger generation which has done us so proud,” she said. “I can remember when Tommy Robinson was the only track athlete who stood a chance at medalling in the international arena and of course there was Sir Durward Knowles, who did us proud in sailing, but today of course all of this has changed.”
#Director of Sports, Tim Munnings, said the Hall of Fame gives the public an opportunity to learn more about the history of the country’s sporting icons.
#“My ministry had an opportunity to re-introduce these persons and I say re-introduce because they are the ones that laid the foundation,” he said. “They have been there and we have to remind everyone exactly what it is that they did. It is very easy to forget the persons that have gone before us. We must always remember the persons who were there first and set standards for all to follow.”
#Munnings, whose father Harold Munnings is an inductee, used his personal experience to exhibit how members of the class have been able to bridge a generational gap through their contributions.
#“I had an interesting time learning about all of these persons, including my own father, I learned some things that he was involved in that I did not even know. This is a bridge between the past and the future,” he said. “In 1960, my father was a chef de mission at the Rome Olympics and at those games, Rev Enoch Backford and Tommy Robinson competed. Thirty-six years later, Rev Enoch Backford was the chef de mission at the 1996 Olympics, I was an athlete at that time. Now I am following in their footsteps. What it means is that their are younger persons looking up to all of us how we perform and go about our various activities, so we have a responsibility to lead by example.”
#The E Clement Bethel National Drama Award winning St Francis and Joseph Catholic School students delivered a choral verse, in honour of the inductees.
#Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson underscored the importance of the award on enlightening the Bahamian public.
#“The National Sports Hall of Fame award was originally commissioned as a means to demonstrate the nation’s appreciation for past contributions made by sporting legends in various disciplines. It is very important that we continue to recognise our past sporting heroes simply because it is a continual reminder to our youth of the lives of these great Bahamian sportsmen and sportswomen of yesteryear,” he said.
#“As a people it is incumbent that we tangibly demonstrate how proud we are of the inductees which is a perfect representation of the high calibre of athletes and sports administrators and exemplary citizens our country has produced.”
#Detailed biographies of each inductee, including a history of the National Sports Hall of Fame, are available in a commemorative booklet printed to honour the occasion.