DOHA, Qatar – The 17th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships has already started off in a special way for The Bahamas, as a veteran coach received a special honor on Tuesday night.
In the midst of members of the local track and field community who made the long trek to Doha, Qatar, to show support, Bahamian long-standing coach Ronald Cartwright was beaming with pride at the Qatar National Convention Centre as he accepted the IAAF Veteran Pin from IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe.
Cartwright said he’s grateful for the honor and it’s a moment he will never forget. He becomes just the second Bahamian to receive the award, following in the footsteps of fellow coach Keith Parker, who was honored eight years ago in Daegu, South Korea. Cartwright credits Parker, who played a pivotal role in coaching him in the throws and jumps, with a lot of the expertise he garnered in coaching.
“I’m humbled,” said Cartwright on Wednesday. “There are so many coaches out there and to be among the few to be honored by the IAAF is special. This just goes to show that the many years that I put into coaching [are] being recognized. It’s all about the kids and helping them to reach their greatest potential. If I could do it all over again, I would. I’m extremely grateful to the IAAF, my family and friends who have always supported me and the track and field community in The Bahamas.”
Cartwright moved to Nassau from Matthew Town, Inagua, as a youngster and started in the coaching profession in his early 30s. He has developed some of the top athletic talent in the country through his club RC Athletics for nearly half of a century.
A number of Bahamians came out on Tuesday night to support Cartwright, inclusive of North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) President Mike Sands; Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer; BAAA Chief Executive Officer Mabeline Miller and husband Shaun Miller – the parents of Bahamian Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo; David Charlton and wife Laura Pratt-Charlton; and long-time friend Stanley Mitchell, just to name a few.
Just three persons in the NACAC region received an IAAF Veteran Pin on Tuesday — an award given for long and meritorious service to athletics.
Cartwright was approved by the NACAC board on the recommendation of the BAAA executive board to be awarded with the IAAF Veteran Pin. He is regarded as a coach who dedicated most of his life to track and field and who has served with honor and distinction and has assisted in a number of youngsters obtaining athletic scholarships to colleges in the United States.
The awards ceremony also served as an opening ceremony for the 52nd IAAF Congress, which officially brought to an end the 12-year tenure of Pauline Davis-Thompson as an IAAF Council woman, and signaled the beginning of Mike Sands’ tenure on the council.
Sands was introduced and welcomed as NACAC president – one of six area representatives of the IAAF.
At the congress on Wednesday, IAAF President Coe was re-elected to serve for another four-year term, and four vice presidents and 13 individual council members were elected. All 203 voting members of Congress voted for Coe.
Ximena Restrepo, the 1992 Olympic 400 meters (m) bronze medalist from Colombia, was one of four vice presidents to be elected, and is the first woman to serve as IAAF vice president.
The IAAF council will be composed of 26 members, eight of whom are women. The 13 newly elected members will be joined by six area presidents, including Sands, and two members of the Athletes’ Commission, one man and one woman.
The two-day congress wraps up today.
Meanwhile, the start of the 17th IAAF World Championships is now just one day away. It gets underway tomorrow at the renovated, multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, and will run until October 6.