id1573-Emmanuel McDonald Bailey 1920 - 2013

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Emmanuel McDonald Bailey 8.12.1920 – 4.12.2013

Kingston AC & Polytechnic Harriers is very sad to have to report the death,on the 4th December in his native Trinidad,of one of Polytechnic Harriers’ most accomplished international athletes.

Mac Bailey,as he was best known,first came to prominence in the Caribbean before World War II as a most promising 18 year old sprinter,but his progress was much delayed by that Conflict. Mac came to Britain and joined the Royal Air Force and it was not until hostilities ceased in 1945 that he was able to blossom into a world-class performer.

Domestically,he was snapped up on demobilisation by Poly’s Doug Wilson and proceeded to lighten up the cinder tracks,along with his West Indian compatriot,Jamaica’s Arthur Wint in the famous Grenat and Cream Vest of the Poly.

Mac opted to compete for Great Britain,whilst Wint remained with his native country,though both were long-time residents and members of Poly in the UK.

Mac’s major achievements were his 10.2 over 100m in Belgrade in 1951,which equalled the then World record and his Bronze Medal in the same event at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. He claimed several European records over 100y/220y,countless UK Records and 7 AAA doubles,not to mention several AAA relays Golds in Poly teams. He ran in both the 1948 Wembley Olympics and in Helsinki in 1952.

He still holds the K&P Club records at 100m and 200m and was also instrumental in persuading the late Charlie Williams,also from Trinidad,to successfully chance his arm in the UK,which many current members of the Club will certainly recall. Mac was very briefly attracted into Rugby League when his track career ended,.but this was not a success and he returned to Trinidad in 1963 and became an icon for Track and Field throughout the West Indies thereafter. He returned to the UK from time to time and this writer had the pleasure of meeting him once when he came to visit the athletics magazine at which I then worked .

In recent years,Mac had been in poor heailth and had virtually lost his sight,but he will always be remembered with affection by those who witnessed his superlative performances for GB and for Poly from 1946 to 1953,frequently slaughtering the opposition,particularly at the iconic White City Stadium at Shepherds Bush..


9th December 2013


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