Dec 11, 2013 Sports
Members of the Tutorial Alumnus convened at the Tutorial High School, Woolford Avenue, yesterday afternoon and paid tribute to former sports stalwart and past student of that institution, Claudette Izel Humphrey, who passed away early last month. She was 74 years-old.
The deceased was the first local female Olympian, representing British Guiana at the 1958 Olympic Summer Games in Melbourne Australia, even as she attended Tutorial High School.
The ceremony was held in the school’s auditorium and graced by several executives of the Alumni including Chairman, Gregory Blyden, School Counselor, Vicram Mohabir, Malcolm Parris, Ivor O’Brien, Fritz McLean, Gregory Blyden and Headmistress (ag) of the school, Carleste Sutton. Dozens of schoolchildren also attended the function.
Tributes were delivered by Mr. Parris while Mr. McLean reflected on the life of the deceased. Mr. Obrien read from the scriptures while the school choir delivered ‘Hymn for Guyana’s Children.” Mr. Mohabir was tasked with the deliverance of comforting words and the benediction. He also said the closing prayer.
Claudette attended the St. Georges Anglican School and subsequently entered the Tutorial High School on an athletic scholarship. Her athletic ability was recognized by the Castello Brothers, founders of Tutorial High school, during the annual public schools’ sports meeting.
Shrewd nurturing of that talent saw the now deceased athlete gaining a place on the British Guiana team to the 1956 Melbourne Australia Olympic Summer Games. The school was then located in 5th Street, Albertown, Georgetown and the students were promised a day off if the athlete performed well at the meet.
Unfortunately, the former athlete failed to qualify for the finals and the students’ population, though disappointed that they did not receive a day off, was nevertheless proud of their fellow student. Claudette’s performance prior to and at the Olympics earned her the distinction of Sportswoman of the year (1956) in British Guiana.
She competed in the 100 meters heats and finished 5th with a time of 12.87 seconds in the face of such records from other competitors as Germany (11.7secs); Great Britani (11.9secs), New Zealand (12 .3secs) and South Africa (12.5secs).
The countries competing in the 100 meters were: Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Soviet Union, Italy, USA, France, South Africa, Poland, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and British Guiana. The standing Olympic record at the games of 11.5secs was held by an American.
The prolific athlete also attended, the 1958 Commonwealth Federation Games and competed in the 100 and 200 meters races. She was, however, eliminated in the heats after registering personal times in the 100 meters 200 meters races.
In 1960 Claudette became a Student Nurse at the Georgetown Hospital and spent approximately one year there before emigrating to London, England, in 1961 to further her studies in Nursing at Central Middlesex Hospital in London, England.
There she met and married Winston Humphrey, a fellow Guyanese and a Naval Soldier in the British Navy in Southampton England. From that union they bore three children. Abigail Sharon, Karen Allison and Ian Spencer.
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