Obituary: Orien Young

A TRAILBLAZER for black athletes.

Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 5:21 pm
Orien Young was awarded the Sport Hampshire and IOW service to sport award in 2008 for his contribution towards athletics Picture: Peter Langdown

And a pioneer for those who compete in sport after having transplants.

Orien Young, who has died aged 85, will be remembered as one of greatest athletes ever associated with Portsmouth.

Young was an international competitor who took part in the Vancouver Commonwealth Games in 1954.

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And his dominance as a sprinter saw him collect 11 Hampshire county titles.

Young arrived in England from Bermuda around 1950 where he worked in the city’s dockyard, later becoming a electrical warfare expert on submarines.

The tale goes City of Portsmouth’s secretary, who also worked at the dockyard, heard of Young’s athletic talent and slipped a club membership form among official paperwork for Young to sign.

This Young did without significant attention, allowing the secretary to ask a week later why wasn’t he at the track – because he was a club member!

That paved the way for a link-up which was to ensure Young became a legendary athletics figure.

A regular in international competition, Young also competed at the same meet at Iffley Road in Oxford when Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954.

Young remains a City club record-holder to this day and, after his running career came to a close, became a renowned coach.

Young became a senior UK Athletics and City master coach as he dedicated his life to coaching, officiating and managing the outfit.

Honorary life vice president was a role he held with City along with, for many years, club president.

Young was also a key figure in the British Transplant Games - with the first Games held in the city in 1978. He remained active coaching transplant athletes until his death.

In later years, Young himself was on dialysis and had two kidney transplants.

Young is survived by his wife Shirley and daughter Geraldine.

Young will complete his final 100m on the Mountbatten Centre track tomorrow (11.30am) followed by his funeral at the The Oaks Crematorium in Havant (12.15pm).