Sporting Greats honoured by Iyanola Marathoners

Once again an organization based overseas continues to honour and cherish our sporting greats, despite what seems a reluctance from local authorities to even acknowledge their existence.
For some, it seems strange seeing an organization called the Iyanola Marathoners (IM) based in New York, continually induct athletes into a specially created
hall of fame.                     Structurally or otherwise, nothing of the kind exits here although there has been much discussion on the matter, as usual with no end result.
On Monday, in keeping with their mandate, the IM honoured four sporting icons from the past during their 30th Anniversary Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at Bay Gardens Beach Resort.
The four inductees at Monday’s function were: Peter “Mocking” Gilbert— regarded as one of the best football players ever in St Lucia; Ignatius Cadette—referred to by one official as perhaps the best wicketkeeper never to play Test cricket; Titus Mason—an outstanding and accomplished soccer defenseman; and then
there is literally Mr Everything, Rick Wayne. He ranks as one of the all time greats in bodybuilding having won numerous titles including Mr Universe (three times), Mr World and Mr Great Britain. His accomplishments go far beyond the sport. The award-winning photographer is the author of numerous books on bodybuilding and politics.
Wayne is also publisher of the STAR Newspaper and in collaboration with his lovely wife Mae, the Star Publishing Company also produces the top rated SHE Caribbean and Tropical Traveller magazines. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In welcoming everyone, Correspondent Secretary of IM, Heneith Samuel, referred to the occasion as “a rare gathering” and told the audience “you are sitting in a midst of history right now.”
It was certainly a star-studded affair with former sporting greats like Paula Calderon, Ronnie Goddard, Jon Odlum, Mary Ann Martial, Rupert Branford, Joyce Auguste, Rupert Polius, Carlyle Martial, Hileran Phillip, Aldith Isaac, Michael Hippolyte, Martial Francis, among those in attendance.
During his brief address President of the IM, Gil King, congratulated the inductees and said: “We have a
group that started on a very simple premise. A lot of individuals represented
St Lucia in different disciplines and simply have nothing to show for it. No medals, no cups, no anything. So we all
thought maybe if we honour some of these people so they have something they could show.”
While delivering the feature address, former national cricketer and footballer Martin Weekes focused on reward and recognition. Weeks lamented on how sports has changed for the worst, especially when it comes to the passion which is lacking in today’s sportsmen and women.
His words fuelled the desire of one inductee to further expound on the importance of passion, which he feels is synonymous in achieving great heights.
After accepting his award, inductee Rick Wayne said: “If you look at the state of the country you will see the answer for the lack of passion, not only in sports but in almost everything you can think of. It also explains our failures. You simply cannot achieve without a passion that lives close to obsession.”
He gave examples of how passion had propelled him to success not only in bodybuilding but life in general and told the audience “what you can dream you can achieve.”
During a question and answer session one invited guest praised the IM for their thoughtfulness in recognizing former greats, but was highly critical of Ministry of Sports officials who were invited but did not materilize at the proceedings.
He said: “First of all let me say an organization like the Iyanola Marathoners can take it upon themselves to present our sportsmen and women and recognize them as opposed to a government body—a  Ministry of Sports. It is a shame that the Minister of Sports is not here nor a representative.”
Here’s hoping next time around things will be different at this awards presentation and sooner rather than later St Lucia has a Hall of Fame to honour our sporting greats.

Iyanola Marathoners inductee in 1997 Rupert Branford (l) had the honour of receiving this plaque on behalf of recent inductee Ignatius Cadet from former president of the Iyanola Marathoners Junior George.One of the all-time bodybuilding greats Rick Wayne (l) pictured here with President of the Iyanola Marathoners (IM) Gil King. He was one of four inductees honoured at the IM’s 30th Anniversary Hall of Fame Awards Presentation.Current member of the Iyanola Marathoners Hall of Fame Hileran Phillip (r) with recent inductee Titus Mason.

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