In the world of powerlifting, the name Howard Hamilton from Jamaica is etched in history as one of the pioneering figures.

It all began in the autumn of 1972 when an international event concluded, and delegates from various competing countries found themselves gathered in the Zembo Mosque in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Their shared passion for the sport led them to hold a momentous meeting with a singular objective to create an organization that would oversee and promote powerlifting globally.

In November 1972, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) was founded, heralding a new era for the sport of powerlifting worldwide. A group of esteemed and passionate individuals was elected to lead the federation and steer its course toward a promising future.

At the helm of the IPF was Robert Crist, a highly respected figure in the weightlifting community and the AAU Weightlifting Chairman. Chosen as the President, he brought with him a wealth of experience and dedication to promoting the sport of powerlifting on the global stage. Assisting Robert Crist were the Vice-Presidents, a diverse group of individuals representing different countries and backgrounds. George Foster from Great Britain, known for his love of the sport and commitment to its development, was one of the Vice-Presidents. Joining him was Bill Gvoich from Canada, whose passion for powerlifting had driven him to achieve remarkable success in his own right.

From the enchanting shores of Puerto Rico came Gilberto Gonzales, another Vice-President who brought a unique perspective and a strong desire to popularize powerlifting in new territories. And from the Caribbean Island of Jamaica emerged Howard Hamilton, adding his voice and expertise to the federation's leadership team.To ensure the smooth operation of the IPF, the elected General Secretary was Milt McKinney, a capable and experienced administrator from the United States. With his organizational skills and dedication, Milt McKinney was instrumental in bringing the diverse group of officials together to work in harmony, fostering a spirit of camaraderie among them.

Together, this dynamic team of elected officials embarked on a journey to promote powerlifting as a sport of strength, discipline, and determination. They envisioned a world where powerlifters from all corners of the globe could come together, compete, and inspire each other to push the boundaries of human potential.

Under their leadership, the IPF flourished, organizing international competitions, setting standards, and creating a global community of powerlifters and fans. As the years passed, the IPF grew in stature and influence, becoming a beacon of excellence in the world of powerlifting. The elected officials of November 1972 left a lasting legacy, laying the foundation for future generations of powerlifters to follow their dreams and make their mark on the sport. Their vision and commitment to unity and progress propelled the IPF to new heights, ensuring that the sport of powerlifting would continue to thrive and inspire for years to come. The inaugural World Championships were scheduled for November the following year - 1973, marking the beginning of a new era for powerlifting.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on June 9, 1936, Howard Randolph Hamilton was the son of the late Eduardo Hamilton, who served as the General Manager of the Jamaica Railway Corporation, and Gertrude Isabel Dann-Hamilton. Educated at St. Aloysius Primary School and later at Jamaica College, his academic journey took him to Lincoln's Inn in London.

After completing his education, Howard served 18 months in the Government Service before delving into the world of law. He embarked on a legal career, obtaining initial pupillage under the guidance of esteemed lawyers, Mr. Dudley Thompson (Q.C.) and Mr. Ian Ramsay (Q.C.). Howard specialized in Criminal Trial Practice, representing clients in courts not only across Jamaica but also in Bermuda, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Grenada, and even the Privy Council.

Outside of his legal career, Howard Hamilton was a man dedicated to his community and the betterment of Jamaica. He served as Chairman for various organizations, including JAMAL in the St. Andrew Zone, the National Aids Committee, and the Jamaica Weightlifting Association, of which he was also the President. Beyond sports and community service, Howard had an activepresence in the legal fraternity, acting as the Past Chairman of the Bar Association Criminal Law Committee.

He was also connected to his alma mater, Jamaica College, as the Past President of the Jamaica College Old Boys' Association. Additionally, he served as the Chairman of the Titchfield School Board, contributing to the development of education in the region. His multifaceted involvement showcased his commitment to making a positive impact on Jamaican society.

Howard Hamilton had a rich personal life as well. On November 9, 1971, he married Beverly Ann Harrison, and together they raised three sons and three daughters. A man of faith, he was a devout Anglican, finding strength and solace in his beliefs.

Beyond his professional and community engagements, Howard was an avid sportsman and intellectual. He enjoyed playing tennis, exploring the underwater world through snorkeling, indulging in card games, and spending time immersed in literature. As an esteemed club member of the Liguanea Club and the Jamaica Lawn Tennis Association, Howard's presence and contributions were recognized and appreciated.

Sadly, on Friday, September 10, 2021, the world mourned the loss of this exceptional man. Howard Randolph Hamilton left behind a legacy that transcended borders, influencing the sport of powerlifting not just in Jamaica but on an international scale. His vision and dedication in the formation of the IPF laid the foundation for powerlifting to thrive and grow worldwide. As the powerlifting community continues to grow and flourish, let us always remember and honor the late Howard Hamilton, a true pioneer whose passion, leadership, and devotion elevated the sport to new heights, inspiring generations of powerlifters to come. His spirit lives on, driving us to reach for greatness and embody the values of powerlifting: strength, determination, and unity.

It was in the early 1970s when powerlifting first took root in Jamaica. Under Howard Hamilton's leadership, Jamaica saw its powerlifters step onto the international stage for the first time. From 1972 to 1974, Jamaica proudly competed in powerlifting, making its presence known in a sport that demanded strength, skill, and determination.

Two athletes, Cedric Demetrius, and Barry O'Brien, would etch their names in the annals of Jamaican powerlifting history before the formation of The National Powerlifting of JamaicaLimited (NPAJ) in 2020. Cedric Demetrius, initially a weightlifter in the lightweight division, transitioned to powerlifting and would become one of Jamaica's earliest powerlifting pioneers.

Cedric's official powerlifting career for Jamaica commenced on a brisk November day in 1972. In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, he took part in an unofficial powerlifting event, competing in the 82.5kg weight class. The atmosphere was electric as athletes from different corners of the world displayed their strength. Cedric's determination and tenacity were evident as he powered through the competition, securing a commendable 7th place out of 11 competitors.

The following year, in 1973, powerlifting was official under the name of the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). Undeterred by the challenge, Cedric Demetrius once again represented Jamaica at the Men's World Powerlifting Championships in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. He competed in the same 82.5kg class as before, he faced a fierce field of competitors. Cedric's unwavering spirit and dedication to his sport shone through as he claimed the 9th spot among 13 competitors.

On November 9, 1974, the stakes were higher as the IPF Men's World Powerlifting Championships took place in York, Pennsylvania USA. Cedric Demetrius found himself competing in the 90kg class, testing his mettle against the world's best powerlifters. Despite the formidable opposition, Cedric's unwavering determination pushed him to secure the 10th position out of 11 competitors, a testament to his indomitable spirit.

While Cedric Demetrius blazed a trail for Jamaican powerlifting, another athlete, Barry O'Brien, embarked on a remarkable journey of his own. From 1970 to 1976, Barry represented Great Britain on seven occasions in powerlifting, earning accolades and respect in the sport. However, the allure of representing his homeland beckoned, and in 1975, Barry O'Brien decided to switch his allegiance to Jamaica.

With newfound pride, Barry stepped onto the platform as a representative of Jamaica on November 22, 1975, IPF Men's World Powerlifting Championships in Birmingham, Great Britain. Competing in the 90kg class, he faced fierce competition from seasoned athletes. Barry's dedication and skill were on full display as he battled with everything he had, securing an impressive 2nd place out of 8 participants. His achievement added a shining chapter to Jamaica's powerlifting legacy.Howard Hamilton's tenure as the driving force behind powerlifting in Jamaica laid the foundation for future generations of athletes to shine. His unwavering belief in the potential of Jamaican powerlifters sparked a journey of growth and excellence that would continue for years to come.

As the sport evolved and the National Powerlifting of Jamaica Limited (NPAJ) took shape in 2020, Howard's vision and passion remained alive in the hearts of those who shared his love for powerlifting. Howard's legacy became more than just achievements on the international stage; it became a symbol of perseverance, determination, and the unyielding spirit of the Jamaican people.

Though Howard Hamilton may have left this world, his legacy lives on in the powerlifting arena and in the hearts of all those who continue to pursue greatness in the sport he loved. Jamaica's powerlifting story, written with the sweat and triumphs of its athletes, continues to unfold, a testament to the remarkable journey of powerlifting pioneers led by the indomitable Howard Hamilton.

I must also take the opportunity to acknowledge some others who have helped along the to start and help with the Powerlifting brand here in Jamaica like Cedric Demetrius, Barry O'Brien, Leslie Pedlar, and Junior Francis will also be inducted into the NPAJ Hall of Fame event this year. The National Powerlifting Association of Jamaica (NPAJ) President, Mr. Michael Blair, praised the late Howard Hamilton's legacy, describing him as a true sportsman who excelled in multiple areas throughout his life. Mr. Hamilton's accomplishments have secured a significant place for Jamaica in the International Powerlifting Federation's (IPF) history, and his contributions have left an indelible mark on the sport.

Mr. Hamilton's impact on powerlifting in Jamaica was so significant that he was honored as the inaugural inductee into the NPAJ Hall of Fame in 2021. This prestigious recognition highlights his exceptional achievements and influence in the country's powerlifting community. In his role as NPAJ President, Mr. Blair expressed his commitment to building upon the solid foundation laid by Mr. Hamilton. He aims to provide a supportive environment for the next generation of powerlifters, ensuring that they have the  opportunities and resources needed to follow in their predecessor's footsteps.

Blair also acknowledges the valuable contributions of several individuals who played crucial roles in establishing and promoting powerlifting in Jamaica. Cedric Demetrius, Barry O'Brien,Leslie Pedlar, and Junior Francis will also be honored with induction into the NPAJ Hall of Fame at this year's event. Their dedication and efforts have significantly contributed to the growth and success of powerlifting in the country.