Hamilton set sights on Caribbean Awards For Sports Icons

BY HURBUN WILLIAMS Observer writer

Sunday, February 02, 2014    

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International Caribbean sports journalist, Jamaican Al Hamilton is a man on a mission.

A mission that is geared to establish a CARICOM Sports Awards committee to honour outstanding sporting personalities of the region.

Hamilton, who in 2003 was made an MBE by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, for his services to sport and an event he sponsored some 30 years ago as the Commonwealth Sports Awards (CSA), explained that he is now deeply involved in a Caribbean version of the CSA called Caribbean Awards For Sports Icons (CASI).

Hamilton explained that for the Caribbean, as a body, to set up such an organisation would serve to give merit to the memorable exploits of the pantheon of the region's sporting arena who laid the foundation for which others are inspired to follow and to improve upon.

Hamilton, who made a brief stop over in Jamaica recently to receive the Certificate of Merit at the recently concluded RJR National Sportsman and Sportswoman Awards ceremony for his selfless contribution in promoting Caribbean Icons in sports, told the Jamaica Observer that the CASI "is a project that I am spending a bit more time trying to develop".

Hamilton migrated to the United Kingdom in 1962 to improve his career as a photographer, but later became a journalist, explained that an award created by the Caribbean region that includes Cuba will serve to honour our legendary sports achievers by the individual Caribbean chain of islands through CASI.

Taking a critical look at the award he received, Hamilton said: "I have migrated for over 50 years, but I have always maintained my presence by coming back some three times a year and I have been involved in a number of sporting activities, as in 1987 when we brought the Jamaica/UK 11 to play against the Jamaica national side as part of our 25th anniversary.

"I was also involved in the first testimonial game here in Jamaica that was done some five years later for national footballers Paul 'Tegat' Davis and Anthony Corbett. And for this, we brought down John Barnes and Ian Wright.

So my involvement in terms of putting something back at home in terms of boxing is well documented.

"For me, I think the greatest honour any human being can have is to be applauded by his own national," and that although one like himself has received awards in Ghana, Uganda and places like that, "this one was particularly special because it came from the country from which I emanated".

Looking at his new project having spent all this time in the United Kingdom, Hamilton said what he would like to accomplish before the bell tolls, is to make a contribution to this region to see to it that recognition of Caribbean icons was given not only by separate organisations, but by the Caribbean Community.

"There is a kaleidoscope in our sporting achievement," he said. "We are not just talking about the recent achievements in terms of Beijing, Berlin, Moscow, France '98 and so forth, that must be applauded. I am talking about the heritage that goes back to '48 that happened in London."

And it is that Heritage: the Heritage of West Indies cricket and so forth that Hamilton would like to extend to also include Cuba, as it must not be forgotten that Cuba has been winning gold medals from way back in the 1920s.

This is the challenge that Hamilton proffered he would like to expand on. "We started the programme here in 2008, went to Nassau, Bahamas in 2009, and we are now in serious discussions with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)," Hamilton pointed out.

He added: "I have in fact just returned from Guyana where I had several meetings where the vibe, the feeling is mutual. So as it stands we will just wait and see how things develop."





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