JIS News

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has expressed sadness at the recent passing of the Jamaican sprint pioneer, Isis Clarke-Reid.

Minister’s statement:

“I am sad at the passing of Isis Clarke-Reid, an extraordinary woman who helped to lay the foundation for what Jamaica has achieved in track and field.

Long before Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown or Merlene Ottey, there was Isis Clarke, competing on dirt tracks; setting and breaking records; and helping to establish Jamaica as a serious competitor in the sport.

It was 82 years ago that Isis Clarke first represented Jamaica in international competition at the Central American and Caribbean Games of 1938 where she, Gertrude Messam, Rhona Saunders and Beryl Delgado won the bronze in the 4×100 metres relay.

At the CAC Games in 1946, Isis Clarke was part of the Jamaica team that took the silver medal in the 4×100 metres relay, running with Cynthia Thompson, Hyacinth Walters and Cynthia Llewlyn.

Isis Clarke was a versatile athlete, competing in the 100 metres, the 200 metres and 80 metres low hurdles.

She was also a strong advocate for women in athletics, which she described as being ‘good for health’ in a 1938 newspaper quote.

I had received news of her failing health and had been making preparations to visit her overseas when the covid crisis disrupted international travel.

As a nation, we are grateful for the part that Isis Clarke-Reid, the ‘Champion Girl Sprinter’ played in Jamaica’s sports development. We are thankful for her long life—100 years—and the inspiration that she has been and will continue to be.

I offer sincerest condolences to her family and friends.”

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