Bermuda Day Grand Marshal 2017 – Our Sporting Heritage
Now Chief Executive officer of the Bermuda Anti Doping Authority (BSADA), former track and field athlete Debbie Jones-Hunter can look back on a litany of sporting awards and accomplishments she has achieved during her lifetime. She still holds the record for winning the most medals in the Carifta Games, a total of 21, and is the current holder of Bermuda’s National Sprint Records in the 200 and 400 metres. She has received the Austin Sealey Award for outstanding performance during the 1977 Carifta Games in Barbados, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Award, the Bermuda’s Sports Citation Award, and the Bermuda’s Athlete of the Decade Award for 1970 -1979.
Her track and field career began in 1970, the year she first attended the Berkeley Institute where she was noticed by the school’s then Physical Education teacher Gerry Swan, who coached her in track and field. After graduating from Berkeley in 1975, she decided to remain in Bermuda to continue preparing for the 1976 Olympics under the coach Clive Longe. It was during this time, while representing Bermuda in the 1975 Pan Am American Games, she fulfilled an important dream: she was recruited by Edward Temple, renowned coach of Tigerbelle, Olympic gold medalist Wilma Rudolf, to attend Tennessee State University. She received a full scholarship. Of all her accomplishments, she is most proud of the fact she was a member of Tigerbelles Indoor World Record Relay Team and was featured on a Nike Sports Poster.
But two other achievements are very important to her as well. She won Bermuda’s first gold medal in international competition at the 1993 Central and Caribbean Games in Ponce, Puerto Rico. And she was the only woman to be included in Bermuda’s Sports Hall of Fame inaugurated in 2004, thereby being the first woman to hold that honour.