McDonald Bailey did great work in Guyana

Dear Editor,

I was sad to learn of McDonald Bailey’s death in Trinidad last week at the age of 92. I doubt the younger generation has heard of him but he was a great sporting figure in the 1940s and 1950s. — a sprinter “grace personified, supple as silk “ who for a time held the world record for the 100 metres and won Olympic bronze at Helsinki in 1952. Year after year he won the sprint double at the AAA championships in Britain. He was very famous all those years ago which shows how easily fame fades.

I got to know him when he came to Guyana as Sports Organiser for Bookers. It is very long ago and my memory is misty but I think I remember him, with Ken Richardson of Sandbach Parker, doing great work developing long distance runners — Clem Fields, Sew Sankar, George de Peana, Dwarka Nath and others  — who dominated the Caribbean. I liked him very much and remember his infectious laughter and great enthusiasm. In 1957, I think it was, he helped train our tennis team which went on to win the regional tournament for the  Brandon Trophy. I remember going bleary-eyed for early morning calisthenics and interval running under Mac’s stern and reprimanding eye. He is vivid in my mind now as I write — slim and fit, warmly encouraging, urging us to be at our best and win. Our lives are made better and fuller by such men.

Yours faithfully,

Ian McDonald


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