Coaker, Molloy, Sjare, Woodford to be inducted next month
Four individuals have been elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Hall of Fame. They will be inducted into the Hall during a reception July 18 at the Track and Field Building in Mount Pearl.
Athletes John Coaker of Gander and the late Bernard Molloy of St. John’s, and athlete-builders Becky Sjare and the late Gordon Woodford of St. John’s were named by provincial athletics president Bob Walsh of St. John’s.
Coaker was one of the top runners in Newfoundland and Labrador in the early 1960s.
In 1965, he was one of four athletes from the province selected to attend a national track and field meet in Saint John, N.B., which attracted more than 4,000 athletes from across Canada. He utilized the training he received at the national event and in the provincial championships to set a record in the 880 yard run with a time of two minutes flat.
He also medalled in 440-yard and one-mile runs, winning one race at the latter distance with a time of 4:41, just six seconds off the provincial record . He also twice placed second in The Telegram 10-mile Road Race.
Molloy established himself as one of the finest race walkers Canada has produced, with outstanding performances during the late 1940s and 1950s.
The highlight of Molloy’s career came in October of 1951 when he finished a strong second in an international 40-mile walking marathon between Toronto and Hamilton. His time of seven hours, 22 minutes and 15 seconds was remarkable when it is noted that he was a novice in this length of competition and only two seconds back of the record established by a Detroit walker in 1949.
He recorded consistent high level finishes in a variety of distance walks, and he earned the Canadian 10-mile walk championship in 1952 with a time of 1:26.18.
From a record of athletics success in her native Alberta to valuable contributions in the coaching and officiating field in Newfoundland and Labrador, Sjare has enjoyed tremendous success in athletics.
She arrived in St. John’s in 1993 and immediately began important contributions to athletics within Newfoundland and Labrador.
Starting as a middle distance running coach in 1994, she has been actively involved in grooming and advising athletes of various ages in a wide range of events
For three years, she was a member of the provincial team coaching staff at national Legion championships and was a member of the provincial Canada Games team coaching staffs for the 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009 Canada Games. She is head coach for the provincial team for the 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
On several occasions, she has filled the role of head coach for Memorial University athletics at the Atlantic championships.
Woodford had an outstanding athletics career as an administrator and as an athlete.
He was elected president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association (NLAA) in 1975 and, in recognition of his valuable and impressive career, was awarded a life membership in the NLAA in 1977.
From a builder’s standpoint, Woodford played a major role in the success track and field enjoyed in the 1977 Canada Summer Games in St. John’s.