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Who Will Win The Next Austin Sealy Award?
By Alpheus Finlayson, BAAA
Apr 20, 2011 - 7:39:08 AM

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The Austin Sealy Award has been presented since 1977 to the Most Outstanding Athlete of The Carifta Games. It was named in honour of the man who spearheaded the Games in 1972.  

Over the years, the awardees comprise the junior athletic elite in the Caribbean and Central America. This includes Jamaican hurdler Michelle Freeman in 1988, Caymanian Long Jumper and sprinter Kareem Street- Thompson in 1989 and 1990, Trinidad and Tobago’s Darrel Brown in 1999 and 2000, Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2001, and Usain Bolt in 2002, 2003, and 2004. His 2004 performance included a World Junior record of 19.93sec for the 200m.  

This places the Award into proper perspective.  

Since the inception of the Austin Sealy Award, four Bahamians have been recipients.  

They are MaryAnn Higgs who won the award in The Bahamas in 1978; Lavern Eve in Kingston in 1982 and Martinique in 1983; Pauline Davis won in 1984 in The Bahamas; and Debbie Ferguson in The Cayman Islands in 1995.  

No Bahamian male athlete has ever won this prestigious award. Also, only one Bahamian has ever repeated.  

We decided to include any other international competitions the athlete competed in that year, including CAC Jr., Pan American Jr., IAAF World Championships, and Olympic Games. We also included the athletes who finished second to them in their Gold medal events, and in the case of Higgs, Juliet Cuthbert who was third in the 100m and sixth in the 200m. Cuthbert was a double medalist in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.  


MaryAnn Higgs  

1978 Nassau  


Attended St. Augustine’s College  

100m- 12.32sec   -0.1mps

          2nd Marcia Brown, Jamaica, 12.38sec

          3rd Juliet Cuthbert, Jamaica, 12.38sec

200m- 24.44sec, 3.9mps

         2nd Monique Millar, Bahamas, 24.87sec

         6th Juliet Cuthbert, Jamaica, 26.21sec  

400m- 2nd, 55.99sec  

CAC Jr., Barbados  

   100m- 12.01sec

   200m- 24.70sec, Record

   400m- 56.45sec, 2nd  

Lavern Eve

      1982 Jamaica  


   Attended St. Augustine’s College  

  Shot- 13.60m, 2nd Elaine Morris, Jamaica

    Discus- 39.60m, 2nd Carol Brown, Jamaica, 38.55m

   Javelin- 48.62m, 2nd Portia Wallace, Bahamas, 39.88m  

At CAC Jr., Barbados  

   Shot, 3rd, 13.26m

   Discus, 4th, 39.46m

   Javelin, 4th, 44.44m  

1983 Martinique  

Shot- 14.39m, 2nd Jan Antoine, Bahamas-11.78m

Discus- 42.90m, 2nd Jan Antoine, Bahamas-36.40m

Javelin- 47.32m, 2nd Portia Wallace, Bahammas-40.20m  

At CAC Sr. Championships- Havana, Cuba  

   Shot, 2nd 14.75m

   Discus- 5th 42.38m

   Javelin-6th 43.90m  

Pauline Davis  

1984 Nassau  

Attended Government High School  

100m- 11.08sec, 2nd Eldece Clarke-11.27sec

200m- 23.80sec, 2nd Jillian Forde, Trinidad And Tobago, 24.10sec  

Did not participate in CAC Jr. nor Pan Am Jr. Championships  

At Olympic Games, Los Angeles  

100m- 11.51sec, won heat

200m- 22.97sec, Quarter Final

Advanced to semi-final in both events  

Debbie Ferguson  

1995 Cayman Islands  

Attended St. Andrews High School  

100m- 11.35sec, 2nd Kerry-Ann Richards, Jamaica 11.65sec

200m- 23.17sec, 2nd Peta Gaye-Dowdie, Jamaica 23.81sec  

Jr. Pan Am Championships, Santiago, Chile  


  200m- 23.44sec  

  IAAF World Championships, Gothenburg, Sweden


  200m- 6th heat, 23.33sec  

Ferguson’s achievement came some eleven years after Davis’. Davis’ came eleven years after Eve’s. It is now sixteen years after Ferguson’s achievement.  

In each of the above cases, the awardees won at least two events.


Based upon the strong 2011 BTC Bahamas Team Carifta, we can look at the possibility of one of our athletes winning this award. Nobody in our memory has ever won this award on the strength of victory in just one individual event.  

The two athletes that come to mind immediately are Anthonique Strachan and Tynia Gaither in the 100m and 200m.  

Strachan has been tearing up the track in Nassau while Gaither has been doing her thing in Florida.  

The Carifta 100m record for Under-20 Girls is 11.03sec done by Aleen Bailey in Jamaica in 1996. The 200m record is 22.93sec done by 2004 Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2001 in Barbados. Of the two records, the 22.93sec seems more attainable by either Gaither or Strachan. Gaither has a 23.17clocking last month and Strachan did the same time last month and improved her best to 23.06sec a week ago. It is the consensus that a showdown between the two could result in a record performance, at least personal records for each.  

To win the Austin Sealy Award the athlete has to perform at a record level. These two ladies have the ability of breaking Campbell-Brown’s record of 22.93sec.  

A record could come from somebody else on the team, but they also have to win another event. In each championship there are athletes who come to the fore and surprise their teams as well as themselves.  

The 100m and 200m Under-20 Girls records are world-class, of course, but this is the Carifta Games and records are the order of the day.

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