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My honours wish list

My honours wish list

By Ezra Stuart | Wed, November 28, 2012 - 9:36 AM

Today, I present my list of Independence awards as Barbados celebrates its 46th anniversary of nationhood on Friday.

Over the years, I’ve suggested many ways in which to honour and recognize long-serving and outstanding Barbadian sportsmen and women.

We need to let it be known to these loyal sons and daughters, who wrote their names on our history’s page, that we make no idle boast about the pride and glory they brought to this fair land.

Let’s look at some firm craftsmen of our fate who have been strict guardians of our sporting heritage.

Founder of the CARIFTA Games, long-standing administrator Austin Sealy, will be fittingly conferred with the Knight of St Andrew for his contribution to athletics locally, regionally and internationally.

Cricket commentator and writer Tony Cozier, who for over five decades has reported on the king of sports throughout the cricketing world, will also be rewarded with a knighthood.

At the completion of the relaying of the athletics track and, let me add, the refurbishment of the stands at the National Stadium into a more modern facility, it will be renamed after our 2000 Sydney Olympics 100-metre bronze medallist Obadele Thompson.

Either the lounge or the main gate will be named after Commonwealth Games 400-metre hurdles gold medallist Andrea Blackett and high jumper Anton Norris, while the new track will carry the name of Elvis Forde.

Next door, the Netball Stadium, with hopefully, a well paved expanded car park, will be renamed after former Barbados captain and stand-out centre-court player Marva Sealy.

Talking about netball, I must reiterate the renaming of the Bayville courts after the Banfield sisters Sonya, Sonia, Harriett and Julia, who all represented Barbados in netball.    

Marion Johnson-Hurley, an outstanding netballer, basketballer and one of the world’s best netball umpires, will have one of the hard courts in The Pine named after her.

Of course, Mark “Bob” Forde, who probably was the longest serving FIFA-accredited football referee in the world, will be honoured by having the Parkinson Community Centre field named after him.

The Deacons courts will be renamed after former Barbados captain and two-time Caribbean MVP Elwyn Oxley while former national captain John Stuart will have courts in his home parish of St George named after him.

Ex-national basketball captain and centre Dwight Rouse is in line for similar honour in either Harts Gap or Dayrells Road.

The Ellerton Playing Field and Pavilion can also be named after Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge.  

Former Barbados football captain and West Indies selectee Reggie Haynes and Victor “Gas” Clarke should be remembered by naming the new AstroTurf facility after them. The main stand should carry the name of Keith Griffith.

I recommend, too, an annual Sherlock “Nat” Yarde Memorial Trophy Match between the Barbados and Guyana national football teams starting with the 2013 football season.

The Aquatic Centre is also due for a renaming, bearing the name of Leah Martindale, Nicky Neckles or Bradley Ally. The swimming fraternity could also perpetuate the memory of Aubrey Corbin and Dr Dalton Durant by having memorial meets named after them.

Whenever the hockey federation gets its AstroTurf back in shape, it will be known as the Mike Owen Hockey Centre, with the main stand named after Deighton Maynard and the Women’s League carrying the name of either Mab Armstrong or Andrea Nicholls.

As there is still no pavilion at the Christ Church Foundation, a bust of West Indies fast bowling great Joel Garner should be erected at his alma mater while the pavilion at St Leonard’s Boys’ will be named after one of Barbados’ most stylish batsmen, Seymour Nurse.

After the Blenheim ‘A’ Pavilion is given a facelift it will be renamed after long-standing Barbados Cricket League president Owen Estwick.

The Barbados Turf Club will of course accept my recommendation to name the track and grand stand after jockeys such as Challenor Jones, Venice Richards and Patrick Husbands while not forgetting trainer William “Bill” Marshall.

The racing circuit at Bushy Park in St Philip will be named after former car racing driver Michael Gill.

The Marine squash courts will now carry the name of Rudy Goodridge. The tennis courts at Wildey will be named after Tyrone Mapp, Richard Ashby or Martin Blackman.

With the marathon dropped from the Run Barbados Series, I’m suggesting that the first Barbadian to finish the half-marathon and 10K this year should be receive the Adelbert Browne and Reuben Bayley awards, respectively.

When a facility is built for indoor mind sports like chess and draughts, it should carry Ronald “Suki” King’s name, while the National Table Tennis Centre should be named after Keith Morris. I am also proposing a Robert Earle Classic featuring the best 16 Caribbean players.

The contribution Eric Sealy made to boxing should not be forgotten, so a refurbished indoor YMCA facility for the staging of boxing cards should bear his name.

Roads carrying British names should now be rechristened after sports icons like bodybuilders Roy Callender, Earl Maynard, Bernard Sealy, Patrick Nicholls, Darcy Beckles and Loftus Roach; cyclists Ken Farnum, Hector Edwards, Barry Forde and Kensley Reece; athletes Lorna Forde, Freida Nicholls and Yolande Straughn; boxer Tyrone Downes and hockey player Ralph Holder.      

I’m certain that as upward and onward we go, those in authority will have no doubts and fears as greater will our nation grow in strength and unity by saluting our sporting heroes who, by their living, did credit to Barbados wherever they went.

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