Live your dream, work hard, study hard and be dis­ci­plined” was the recipe for suc­cess as told by T&T’s first Olympic gold medal­ist Hase­ly Craw­ford, whose name was im­mor­tal­ized by the City of San Fer­nan­do yes­ter­day.

To­geth­er with fel­low Olympian, the late Rod­ney Wilkes, plaques com­mem­o­rat­ing their mo­men­tous achieve­ments were in­stalled on the band­stand along Har­ris Prom­e­nade, op­po­site the San Fer­nan­do City Hall.

Craw­ford won gold in the 100 me­tres sprint event at the 1976 Olympics in Mon­tre­al, Cana­da. Wilkes, who died in 2014 at age 89,  won T&T’s first-ever Olympic medal, a sil­ver in weight lift­ing at the 1948 Olympics in Lon­don, Eng­land.

Craw­ford, who has a sta­di­um named af­ter him, said it was the first time he was be­ing ho­n­oured in his home­town. De­spite all the recog­ni­tion he gained over the years, he said be­ing ho­n­oured at the place where he ran as a child felt spe­cial.

“One of the rea­sons I ac­cept­ed this ho­n­our is be­cause I re­al­ly want young peo­ple to know what it takes to win an Olympic gold medal. Re­cent­ly there was a book on me where­by the young chil­dren of this coun­try will know about Hase­ly Craw­ford’s achieve­ments,” he said.

San Fer­nan­do May­or Ju­nia Re­grel­lo said the men are the first of sev­er­al home­town he­roes whose feats will don the band­stand. Ex­plain­ing the rea­son for the ini­tia­tive, Re­grel­lo said that from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive, these achieve­ments and he­roes need to be put there as a re­minder for gen­er­a­tions to come.

“We have a short mem­o­ry and young peo­ple are not fa­mil­iar with our his­to­ry. I think it is im­por­tant for them to know the his­to­ry of Hase­ly’s achieve­ments, what he has done for this coun­try and San Fer­nan­do by ex­ten­sion,” Re­grel­lo said.

He said that when the band­stand was re­built, space was des­ig­nat­ed on the hexa­gon to fea­ture the names and achieve­ments of lo­cals. He said there were none more fit­ting than Craw­ford and Wilkes to be­gin the ini­tia­tive. 

In 2018, Bertrand Street, where Wilkes lived, was re­named in his ho­n­our. Rep­re­sent­ing his fam­i­ly, his step-son Patrick Lau­rence said his fam­i­ly was ap­pre­cia­tive of the move.

Al­though Wilkes died in pover­ty, af­ter bat­tling prostate can­cer, Lau­rence re­vealed that he knew that long af­ter his death, he would be re­mem­bered and his name called.

A com­mit­tee has been set up to re­view and make rec­om­men­da­tions to de­ter­mine who else will be memo­ri­al­ized on the band­stand.

Source


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