FORMER TRINIDAD and Tobago sporting all-rounder Michael “Mike” Agostini died yesterday in Australia where he had been residing.
According to a report on the IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) website, the 81-yearold Agostini, who represented Trinidad and Tobago in athletics - and also competed in both boxing and football - passed away after a battling pancreatic cancer.
Ephraim Serrette, president of the National Association of Athletics Administrations (NAAA) said, “Mike has contributed to the sport tremendously. He was one of our top sprinters in the early days and he maintained a relationship with the (NAAA) although he was all the way out in Australia.
At present, the trophies that we present at our annual awards (to our top clubs) were trophies that he contributed to.
“It’s sad of his passing but I must say that he has contributed, in the early days of sprinting.
He was someone that people would have looked up to.” Serrette pointed that Agostini’s name will come up for consideration if, or when, the NAAA decide to initiate their own Hall of Fame awards.
Agostini, who was inducted into the WITCO (now First Citizens) Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 1985, grew up in a sporting family in which both his parents, as well as his sister and three brothers, all played a variety of sports, including athletics at St Mary’s College.
Born in January 23 1935 in Port of Spain, Agostini first came to international prominence on his 19th birthday when he beat Olympic champion Lindy Remigino to set a world indoor best over 100 yards in Washington, United States.
Later that year, he won the 100 yards title at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, coming out on top in a muchhyped duel against Australia’s Hector Hogan.
In 1955, representing British West Indies, he took the 100m silver and 200m bronze at the Pan American Games in Mexico City.
In 1956, he was denied world records on two occasions due to technical faults. In March he clocked 20.1 in the 220 yards, but the last stopwatch missed the flash of the gun. Two months later, he equalled the world record for the 100 yards with a clocking of 9.3 in Long Beach, but the time was not put forward for ratification because the third stopwatch malfunctioned.
In the summer of 1956, he reached both the 100m and 200m finals at the Olympic Games in Melbourne, finishing sixth and fourth respectively.
After retiring from competitive athletics in the late 1950s, and graduating from Fresno State University in California, United States (1958) with an Economics degree, he moved to Melbourne and took up jobs as a freelance journalist and then as a teacher. He also briefly coached Ralph Doubell, who went on to win gold in the 800m at the 1968 Olympics.
In 1961 he became an Australian citizen and married Pamela, a 54- year partnership that would see four children and nine grandchildren follow.
In the mid-1960s, he became the editor and publisher of a newly launched magazine, Track and Field. It was the beginning of a long and successful career in the industry, during which time Agostini edited several major athletics magazines and authored nine books.
Agostini was also involved with coaching.
Among the athletes he coached were Commonwealth Games gold medallist Andrew Ratcliffe, Olympic finalist Peter Vassella and Olympic medallist Jenny Lamy.
Agostini is survived by his four children — Dianne, John, Catherine and James — and nine grandchildren.