Minister of Sport Anil Roberts was among those yesterday “saddened” by the death of the country’s first Olympic medallist, Rodney Wilkes who died yesterday at the San Fernando General Hospital, aged 89.
“I have always admired Rodney Wilkes for believing in himself while pursuing what was not a popular sport in the 1940s, largely training himself, receiving little reward for his efforts but quite humbly beating the best in the world to become this country’s first Olympic medallist,” the Minister said by press release yesterday.
He added: “Wilkes’ historic feats at the Olympic Games as well as his other achievements at international level, are not forgotten by those of us in the sport industry who believe that his efforts are an inspiration to those who dreamed of success in their chosen sport. We are extremely grateful for the time he spent with us and wish to honour his life in a suitable manner. The Ministry stands ready to offer whatever support is required for his final farewell.”
Wilkes won silver in the featherweight class of weightlifting at the 1948 Olympic Games in London and followed it up with bronze in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland.
Wilkes was honoured by the Ministry at the inaugural Spirit of Sport Awards (SOSA) in 2011 with a Lifetime Achievement Award which was accompanied by a monthly stipend to cover his living and medical expenses.