André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, yesterday hailed deceased Jamaican track and field administrator, Neville 'Teddy' McCook, as a passionate servant of athletics, who helped lay the foundations of Jamaica's current successes in the sport.
McCook, 73, passed away on Monday after a lengthy fight against prostate cancer and diverticulitis, ending a life of servitude to the sport, which included the presidency of the North America, Central America and Caribbean Area (NACAC), membership on the IAAF Council, as well as secretary general of the Jamaica Olympic Association - positions he held up to the time of his passing.
He also served as president of the Jamaica Athletics Admini-strative Association between 1984 and 1996 and was a founder of the iconic Gibson Relays, which was started four decades ago in honour of Bishop Percival Gibson, the founding Principal of his alma mater, Kingston College.
"The broad smile and immense energy of my close friend and colleague, Teddy McCook, will be greatly missed by all who had the fortune to make his acquaintance," said Diack, in a release early yesterday morning.
"Teddy was a tireless administrator at national and international level, a passionate believer in our sport. The systems he helped put in place in Jamaica laid the foundations and today continue to underpin the country's success at global championship level," Diack added, before speaking to the Jamaican's impact in the IAAF Council.
"Teddy's belief, vision and commitment to athletics, which decades ago nationally saw the creation of the Gibson Relays meeting, has most recently helped power the IAAF Council's decision to create a new international competition in 2014, the IAAF World Relays," Diack noted.
"A staunch supporter of the work of the IAAF High Performance Centre in Kingston, Teddy's lifelong mission was the enhancement of athletics and our sport has lost one of its strongest advocates. Our thoughts are with his wife, Sonia, and his four daughters."
Diack continued: "On behalf of the worldwide athletics family, the IAAF mourns the passing of one of the great servants to our sport who dedicated his life to the advancement of athletics. The IAAF offers its sincerest sympathy and best wishes to his family and friends at this sad time."
McCook was Jamaica's highest-placed track and field official in international circles, and was also held in high acclaim locally, having been awarded the national honour of Commander of the Order of Distinction (CD) for Sports in 1987 and later conferred with the Order of Jamaica in 2006, also for Sports.
He had been an IAAF Council member since 1999 and was first elected president of NACAC in 2007, before winning a second term in 2011 after a close campaign.