Tomorrow marks 23 years since the passing of celebrated Trinidadian athlete Manny Ramjohn.
Ramjohn was the first Trinbagonian long-distance runner to win a gold medal at a major international sporting event.
Manny Ramjohn was born on November 15th 1915 in Gasparillo. He attended Naparima College in San Fernando, and in 1930, joined the Naparima Scouts. He remained part of the Trinidad and Tobago Scouting movement throughout his life.
In 1946, he participated in the 5,000 meters event at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, beating his Mexican competitors who were projected to win. In doing so, he also broke the record at that time, which was 15 minutes and 54.8 seconds.
In 1948, Ramjohn went on to become one of the first persons to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Olympic Games—the first Olympics to be held after a 12 year hiatus during World War II. He participated alongside Trinbagonian athletes George G. Lewis (athletics), Wilfred O. Tull (athletics), Compton Gonsalves (cycling), and Rodney A. Wilkes (weightlifting). Ramjohn ran in the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters long-distance events held at Wembley Stadium in London.
Ramjohn held an impressive career record of 96 victories, 40 second-place and 13 third-place finishes from various meets that he entered between 1936 and 1951.
After he retired from professional athletics, he worked as a research laboratory technician at Texaco, and continued in the field of Scouting in Trinidad.
In 1982, he was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Medal for his contribution to sports and social work. He passed away on January 23rd, 1998.
In 2001, the Union Park Race Track in Marabella was renamed the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in his honour.
Photo showing Manny Ramjohn, courtesy of the Evening News Newspaper, November 19th, 1946. This newspaper is a part of the NATT Photo Collection.
References: Carrington, Josie-Ann. “Former Olympic Runner Dies at 82.” Trinidad Express, 31 Jan. 1998, p. 6.