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
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
400m- 56.45sec, 2nd
Attended St. Augustine’s
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- 14.39m, 2nd Jan Antoine,
Discus- 42.90m, 2nd Jan
Javelin- 47.32m, 2nd Portia
At CAC Sr. Championships- Havana, Cuba
Shot, 2nd 14.75m
Attended Government High School
100m- 11.08sec, 2nd Eldece
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
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,
IAAF World Championships, Gothenburg,
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
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.