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Former T&T track star Andrews dies in US

Trinidad Guardian :: 21.06.2019

Former top Trinidad and Tobago sprinter and hurdler Thora Andrews, nee Best, passed away in Beaumont, Texas, last Saturday. 

The 73-year-old former national long-jump title-holder was the first T&T female athlete to win a medal at a major international meet, capturing bronze in the 80-metres hurdles in Canada in 1963. 

Andrews started running while in primary school at Tunapuna AC and won the Victrix Ludorum title several times while at St Augustine Girls' High School. Settled into formal athletics under the tutelage of George Clarke of Burnley Athletics Club, Andrews blossomed into a fine national athlete and had many a memorable duel with ageing national sprint champion Sybil Dommartin at the annual Southern Games and Eastern Games. Along with Sigrid Sandiford, Merlin Reid, Joyce Walker, Millicent Cumberbatch and a handful of others, Andrews helped to make Burnley a household word in national women's athletics. 

Apart from the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, she represented T&T in the Central American and Caribbean Games in Brazil and in the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica. In 1964, she came close to realising her dream of making it to athletics' biggest stage, the Olympics. The only woman named on a preliminary national contingent for the Tokyo Games, Andrews was one of the three athletes cut from the squad when lack of funding forced a reduction in the size of the final party to five instead of the original eight. 

That same year, she left T&T to take up an athletic scholarship at Texas Southern University in the United States and eventually took up residence in that country, finally retiring from competitive athletics in 1971. She became a high school track coach and remained in the field until her retirement in 2006. She was among a score of national athletes honoured jointly by the T&T Olympic Committee and the National Amateur Athletic Association (NAAA) a few years ago.

Born in Tunapuna in 1946, the ninth of 12 children, Andrews was the younger sister of the late former Tapia leader and political thinker Lloyd Best. She leaves to mourn her husband Robert Andrews, children Raquel, Tonia, Roberta, Robert Jr and Timothy and nine grandchildren, as well as three sisters and one brother. She is to be buried in Beaumont on Saturday.


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Former T&T track star Andrews dies in US
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Thora Andrews in training during her days at Texas Southern University in the United States

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