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Donna Raynor ready to step down as BNAA president

End of an era: Donna Raynor has confirmed she will be stepping down as president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association in November (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Donna Raynor has just 12 days left of a 12-year stint as president of the Bermuda National Athletics Association, before she hands over the reins to her successor at the annual meeting at the end of November.

It is a sign of the times that that September 30 meeting will not be held in person but via Zoom as the country comes to grips with another Covid spike. Freddie Evans has been mentioned as a candidate for the top post. The association was still known as the Bermuda Track and Field Association when Raynor replaced Clarence Smith as president in 2009. There have been plenty of highs during her reign with an obvious low being the postponement in 2020 and then cancellation of this year’s rescheduled Carifta Games because of the pandemic.

Bermuda did host a successful Carifta Games in 2012 under Raynor’s presidency. As a former athlete herself, she hopes to remain involved in the sport. She presently serves on World Athletics in gender leadership and funding.

“No, I’m not having any second thoughts, for the last two weeks I have had a lot I have to do,” Raynor said.

“I have reports that I have to get to World Athletics, a report to get to Youth and Sport and we’re still working with the BOA [Bermuda Olympic Association] since we are looking at an event that is supposed to be held at the end of November.

“Plus, we’re still working with Jah-Nhai [Perinchief] as we’re trying to get him moved to professional status.

“So for the last two weeks I haven’t been here twiddling my thumbs, there are things I have to finish off and then some others will be handed over to the next president.

“I don’t know how the exchange is going to go, there are some things I would still like to be involved with.

“I’ll still be sitting on the BOA, so hopefully I’ll still be able to work with the elite athletes, but that is based on whatever the incoming president decides.”

Raynor added: “I’m still busy with Women in Sport and still busy with the NACAC gender leadership. We just had a meeting yesterday, and I’m still involved with World Athletics.

“That’s one of the other reasons that it was time to step down because a lot of the stuff that I’m doing for World Athletics and gender leadership was picking up, and it is a lot. It’s time for me to leave this and move on to what is the next step in my athletics career.”

As well as sitting on the gender leadership commission, Raynor also heads up the commission that reviews funding for the international governing bodies.

Raynor has enjoyed the 12 years spent as president, during which time she has seen athletes’ careers begin and end.

“That took me over three Olympic periods, seeing the athletes grow and develop,” she said.

“Tyrone Smith [now retired long jumper] started just before I started and he and I have gone through it kind of together. Plus I’ve seen junior athletes come and go.

“The 12 years were fine, I didn’t feel like I was burnt out any time before that, and I don’t feel burnt out now. I just think it’s time to move on.

“I’ve been doing so many different courses with World Athletics and most of them are geared towards gender leadership. One that I did, we had a one-on-one and she said to me ‘where do you want to go and where are you now that could prevent you from reaching those goals?’

“I said to her ‘it’s been going around in my mind, should I or shouldn’t I’ and we talked about it. She said, ‘Donna, it’s probably time for you to let that go and move to where you want to go’.

“My ultimate goal is to sit on the World Athletics board, and for me to get there, there are things I have to let go. One of them is the BNAA presidency, so I can focus on what I need to do to set myself up so that when the next election comes around I’m ready.”

All six board of directors positions will be filled at the AGM, including those of president, general secretary and treasurer.

Discussion will also be held on amendments to bye laws, as previously discussed last September, to include term limits of the board of directors so that all board members are not up for re-election at the same time, and also to introduce diversity into the bye laws so that there is a minimum of two females voted on the BNAA board beginning in 2021.

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Published September 18, 2021 at 8:05 am (Updated September 18, 2021 at 8:05 am)

Donna Raynor ready to step down as BNAA president

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