André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Rainford Wilks, long-time friend and chairman of the Gibson Relays Committee, is expecting the February 23 relay carnival, set for the National Stadium, to be staged in honour of its pioneer, Neville 'Teddy' McCook, who passed away on Monday.
McCook, who served as chairman for 40 years, has overseen the growth and development of the one-day event into one of the most respected meets of its kind, and Wilks, who took over the reins last year, believes it would be a fitting tribute to the highly regarded administrator.
"It comes to mind readily, and I speak without discussing it with the committee, but there is clear anticipation that there is unlikely to be any disagreement that we will dedicate these Gibson Relays, which are due in less than two weeks' time, to him and his memory," said Wilks.
"Anything else, we will have to await any discussion with his family and it's not an appropriate time to raise that matter just yet, but I think we will definitely stage the Gibson Relays in his memory," Wilks added, before speaking of his relationship with the former North America, Central America and Caribbean president and IAAF Council member.
"It's a difficult time for us, for me and for everyone on the Gibson Relays team and for people like myself, who grew up at Kingston College (KC) under his influence. I have known him since he became an old boy and I was in the track and field circles," Wilks shared.
"I grew up under him, so to speak, to the point where I succeeded him on the Gibson Relays committee. I am really going to miss him," he added. "I have seen him struggle in the last six months, in particular with his illness. I knew he deteriorated badly over the weekend and it has turned out to be the last battle.
"On behalf of myself and my family and, of course, the Gibson Relays family, I would like to pay the highest tribute to his contribution to track and field and sports administration in general," Wilks added.
McCook was a leading figure behind the Gibson Relays, which itself was created in memory of Bishop Percival Gibson, the first principal of KC.