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Luminaries to be honoured at Wint/McKenley Classic

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2016 | 1:00 AMLeighton Levy
Arthur Wint strides to victory in the 440 yards final of the 1952 Championship meeting of the Amateur Athletic Association at the White City stadium.
McKenley
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Olympians Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley and Dennis Johnson, as well stand-out coach Michael Clarke, will be among six luminaries to be honoured at the inaugural staging of the McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classic that will christen the new synthetic track at Calabar High School on January 23.

Calabar High benefactors Ray Goldbourne and Dr. Don Philbert, who have both made significant contributions to the continued development of the Red Hills Road-based educational institution, will also be honoured during the meet that will feature Olympic Development races in the 400 and 800 metres and special 100-metre race for primary school athletes.

Wint won Jamaica's first ever gold medal in the 400 metres at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, England. He was also a member of Jamaica's mile relay team that won gold in world record time at the 1952 Games in Helsinki.

McKenley, the first Jamaican schoolboy to win a track scholarship, was a silver medallist in the 400m in 1948 and was a also member of Jamaica's mile relay team that dramatically defeated the previously invincible Americans at the 1952 Games. He was also a successful track coach at Calabar High for more than a decade.

Johnson, the first ever director of sports at the College of Arts, Science and Technology, was among the fastest men in the world over the 100-yard dash between the mid 1950s and early 1960s. He once equalled the world record four times within a one month span.

Clarke has had tremendous success as a track coach and has led Calabar High to the last four titles at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships.

All six gentlemen will be honoured during the opening ceremony at the meet. "We will be presenting citations for each of them and will be handing over plaques of those citations," said Andrea Hardware, a member of the organising committee.

"We wanted this meet to be a development meet because both Mr. McKenley and Dr. Wint had been significant contributors to track and field, especially at the junior level, moreso Herb because he has been our coach for like the last 100 years before he retired, he was just there with us pushing and developing our programme in general and producing some outstanding athletes for us and for Jamaica.

"So it is a meet honouring these two greats that have contributed so much to us as a nation," Hardware stated.