A THORNY ISSUE: Don’t forget Nurse and Sealy
TOO MANY NAMES to call, so they couldn’t call all. Agreed?
Still, there were some obvious omissions from the list of sporting icons who were duly recognised for their achievements, covering the period of our 50 years of Independence.
Why no place for Marva Sealy? This iconic netballer should have been in the initial batch of honorees without a second thought.If you have been around long enough, you would know that she is unofficially known as “Miss Netball”.
We haven’t produced many netballers who have been put on a pedestal by her local and international peers like Sealy. Perhaps, I might be putting my foot in my mouth and the authorities could surprise me by belatedly naming the Netball Stadium after her. Like most people I enjoy pleasant surprises, so bring it on!
Apart from the Hall and Griffith Stand at Kensington Oval, there continues to be a separation of Sir Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith when it comes to major, national honours. They hunted as a partnership and are noted as one of the most fearsome fast bowling pairs of all time. They were like hand in glove.
Sir Wes was duly knighted for service to cricket and other social activities. Griffith wasn’t, although he has made a sterling contribution to business life as well, apart from his cricketing exploits. There’s never any separation of Greenidge and Haynes, and shouldn’t be. Why is there for Hall and Griffith?
People of my vintage would agree that outside of Sir Garry, there wasn’t a more revered cricketer/batsman than Seymour Nurse. Every young player wanted to bat with the style and grace of Nurse. He made an outstanding mark for Barbados and West Indies. What significant national honour has he received to date?
As in the case of Marva Sealy, there might be a big surprise in the making. After all, the Independence list is still to come!
First world champion
Somebody obviously forgot that the versatile Shane Brathwaite was our first track and field world champion. He was the World Youth octathlon champion in 2007, an achievement that earned him this country’s Sports Personality Of The Year.
That shouldn’t have been missed, considering that the two other world champions, Ryan Brathwaite, who got his accolade in the men’s 110 metre hurdles in Berlin in 2009, and Akela Jones, who was the World Junior long jump champion in 2014, made the final cut. Fair is fair unless Shane’s omission was a genuine oversight.
Jackie Hoad and Bill Tempro were sailing world champions in 1967. They beat the rest of the world in the GP14 World Championship in Ontario, Canada. It is ironic that Barbados hosted the championship in March this year. That should have reminded somebody that this duo were extraordinary and in line for a special honour.
Football is widely regarded as the island’s number two sport and there were more than enough names to choose from for one of the prestigious awards. Gregory “Lalu” Goodridge would qualify for being the only home-grown footballer to play in the prestigious English Premier League so far. He played for Queens Park Rangers in the early 1990s.
Looks like it would be left to the Barbados Football Association to do the right thing when they name their facility at Wildey.
Unsurprisingly, the media went unnoticed. But there would have been no harm in honouring Tony Cozier posthumously. He had no equal as a cricket commentator/writer during the time he covered the sport. He met the criteria of excellence that every Bajan is asked to do to make good on our national motto about pride and industry.
The work of Sam Wilkinson also could have been recognised. He made a distinctive mark as both a broadcaster and writer, following and commenting on a variety of sports.
The late Leslie “Shell” Harris should have been a certainty on this team as he was the first to bring a unique Bajan style to commentating and sports journalism on the whole.
Evenso, were sports journalists part of the panel that chose the honorees? Who would have been better placed to balance the scales than the same people who reported on the deeds of the icons on a regular and professional basis?
Even though the Minister of Sports said that this was only the beginning of things to come, the first in anything is always important because it sets the highest standards for other aspirants to try to attain.If the benchmark is lowered a couple notches from the top, we will never be able to identify the best in their respective disciplines.
If it was difficult deciding who qualified to be part of the elite 25, and if there is a plan to continue the scheme, then there was no harm in allowing some of the honorees to develop further in their sport and become unquestionable icons.
• Andi Thornhill is a veteran sports journalist.