Athletics in Belize, past and present – Mr. Henry Gordon

One of the most humble and talented persons you could meet is Mr. Henry Gordon, a short-distance legend who participated in the first Inter-College Meet ever held in Belize. I sat down with this living legend, and the following is the result of that conversation.

Mr. Henry, from an early age, loved to run. In his early years growing up on Tigris Street, it was evident that he loved to run. He and some of the neighborhood kids would run from Tigris Street to King Street, through Euphrates Avenue, Dean Street and back to Tigris. They didn’t run for any prize, but for bragging rights, to say at the end of the day, “bwai, a beat yu today,” while the other would say, “a wahn get yu tomorrow.”

Mr. Henry went to St. Mary’s Primary School. There, in Standard Six he participated in his first major event in 1955. It was an Inter-Primary School Track and Field Competition in which he came in first. The prize he received for being first was a book called Bumper Book For Boys. Sadly, this book was destroyed in the hurricane Hattie (1961).

The following year, he enrolled in Belize Technical College, or at the time British Honduras College. He ran in the first Inter-College Meet in Belize, and came in first in two events - the 200 yards and the hop-step-and-jump, now known as triple jump. Only in the 100 yards dash he came in second, and “Powder” Sutherland came in first. The schools that were in that meet as opponents were Wesley College and the original St. Michael’s College. He was an “all-arounder” in sports; he not only ran, but he was into boxing, played inter-college cricket and intramural football.

At the end of his college years, he attained knowledge in the sciences, arts, trade, maths and English, which he studied. In 1966 he got a scholarship to go to the University of Calgary, that’s in Canada. In 1970 he came back to Belize, and in 1974 he got a chance to represent Belize in Santo Domingo at the Caribbean Games; but he did not go because of certain values he had and lived by. He was not comfortable with the qualifying time he did. He wanted to represent his country to the best of his ability. In his heart and mind, he was not prepared the way he wanted to, so he refused to go.

I asked him what advice he would give to the youth of today. He replied, “Education is the key. Sports is good; it is an essential part of your physical development. Education should be the primary goal in this day and age. Young people need role models, but good role models, people who are law abiding citizens.”

I just want to say thanks to Mr. Gordon for his contribution to Track and Field.

I also would just want to inform you that this Saturday, October 30, at the People’s Stadium in Orange Walk, it will be the Track Meet for Infants and Juniors from schools country-wide to qualify for the Honduras meet which will be held from November 25-27. The starting time for this Saturday’s meet is 9:00 a.m. sharp. See you there!

Until next week; have a safe and healthy week.

(Ed. Note: Henry Gordon presently writes a weekly column, “In Search of Truth,” in Amandala.)
Amandala