By ?Alpheus Finlayson
Bahamas celebrates golden anniversary ?of Timothy Barrett’s CAC games gold medal
On June 19th, 1966, an eighteen year old Head Boy from the Government High School in Nassau, Timothy Barrett, captured the gold medal in the Triple Jump, in a new Games record. He was travelling outside the country as well as competing abroad for the first time.
The event was the Central American and Caribbean Games and the venue San Juan, Puerto Rico. Barrett was unbeatable that season but bruised his heel at the high school meet in March, at St. Augustine’s College.
In those days Government High, St. Augustine’s, St. John’s College, Queen’s College, and St. Andrews participated.
There was a separate competition for the Nassau government secondary schools.
A month later Barrett competed at the first meet at the new track at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre and lost for the first time due to his bruised heel. It was the first All Bahamas Schools Championships.
The next month his jumping improved with him sailing over forty-eight feet. Barrett practised on his own but when he was selected to the Bahamian team to the Central American and Caribbean Games in San Juan, Keith Parker, a former versatile athlete, working at the Ministry of Education, decided to assist him. A jumper himself, Keith noticed that Barrett was hopping higher than he should with his take off leg, and suggested he should have concentrated on jumping long, not high.
At the Games in San Juan, Barrett started out with 50 feet 11-1/4 inches, much longer than he had ever jumped.
He improved three times over fifty one feet. His final jump was 51 feet eight and a half inches, a new Games record.
Barrett did not just establish a new Games record, but in the process, jumped more than three feet better than his personal best.
?At the Central American and Caribbean Games in Kingston in 1962, Perry Gladstone Christie, now Prime Minister of The Bahamas, won the Bronze medal in this event, becoming the first Bahamian to win a medal in a field event at an international competition.
The event in San Juan was held on the nineteenth of June. On that day Barrett became the first Bahamian to win a Gold medal in a field event, and the second to win a Gold medal in Track and Field. The first was sprinter Thomas Augustus Robinson, who shocked the world at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales in 1958, winning the 220 yards.
Interestingly enough, Barrett shared a birthday with Robinson, March 16th, as well as a middle name, Augustus.
On Barrett’s arrival back home, he was nicknamed “Golden Boy” by Alan King, the Sportswriter of The Tribune newspaper.
The president of the Bahamas Olympic Association was Bobby Symonette, Speaker of the House, and president of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association, Sir Arlington Butler.
The other members of the team were George Collie, sprinter. Deceased, Frank “Pancho” Rahming, who made the finals in the 1500m, and Derek Cambridge, who ran the 800m in San Juan.
June 19th falls on Father’s Day this year and it will certainly be memorable for Tim as well as for The Bahamas.