TRINIDADIAN Ian Atherly celebrated his 60th birthday earlier this month which made him age 20 at the time he claimed the match sprint bronze medal at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christ- church, New Zealand. Since then T&T’s pedal-pushers have not medalled at these Games.
Four athletes represented Trinidad and Tobago at that 1974 Games: Stan Bailey (weightlifting), Bert Manhin (shooting), Atherly and the late Noel Luces (cycling).
Bailey was the other T&T medallist at the Games with silver in the middleweight class.
Contacted recently, Atherly said he anxiously viewed these Games every time they were held for someone to join him in medal row following the several outstanding performances from Roger Gibbon and Leslie King who had gone before him.
“Again this time out, T&T has a great opportunity to improve on my bronze medal performance. Forty years should never be allowed to go by again.
“Commonwealth Games back then was known as the Games just below that of the Olympics and Pan American Games, and probably still is.
“What comes to mind every time our athletes return home victoriously, was remembering my father (deceased) and Richard Hart (coach) alone at the airport upon my arrival.Trinidad and Tobago has certainly come a long way since then.”
Atherly explained that the T&T contingent on their way back from New Zeland were on a flight that experienced severe bad weather over Tahiti on their way to Los Angeles, “which resulted in me leaving my medal on the aircraft which was never replaced despite attempts to the organising committee.
“I offer my sincerest best wishes to our 2014 representatives and sincerely hope that their handlers do a great job this time around. It’s still my view that we were robbed of a gold medal at the last Olympics due to mishandling, but that’s another story.”
The other T&T riders, who have secured medals at the Games are: Roger Gibbon (1966)—gold in kilo and sprint and Leslie King—(1970) silver kilo and bronze match sprint.