Team BVI hails Nanjing 2014 as an experience of a lifetime

IMG-20140829-WA0002On August 28th, 2014, the 2nd Youth Olympic Games concluded with a spectacular closing ceremony in Nanjing, China. With the games now finished, teams of the World have returned home including team BVI. For all participants, it was clearly not just another Games but a truly cultural, educational and competitive event, carefully designed to enrich the experiences of the athletes beyond the playing field.

Team BVI collectively summed up Nanjing 2014 as “definitely an experience of a lifetime.” Chef de Mission, Stephanie Russ Penn also noted that Nanjing, China did a tremendous job at creating and hosting these Games.


BVI Wins Gold as part of the inaugural mixed team relay
Competing in three sports swimming, sailing and athletics one of the most significant highlights for the BVI was the Olympic gold medal attained by Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner in the inaugural 8 x 100m Mixed Team Relay.

10614106_699614146786190_4970112474612636410_n(1)Warner, a member of Team #34, joined with nine other athletes from Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Australia, Comoros, Germany and Thailand (2 being reserves) and contested the 4 male, 4 female relay winning in a time of 1 minute 40.20 seconds. The team comprised of a mixture of sprinters, throwers, jumpers and distance athletes.

Triple Jumper Akeem Bradshaw, hurdlers Deya Erickson and Kyron McMaster, long Jumper, Kala Penn, and sprinter, Nelda Huggins were also each a member of one of the 66 total relay teams that participated in the event.

In a format unique to the Youth Olympic Game, each track and field athlete had the opportunity to compete in a final regardless of placement in the preliminary round of competition. Initial performances determined each athlete’s designated final with the A final comprising of the top preliminary finishers and the medal contenders.

Huggins, 17, the only A finalist, lacked her usual race drive and had a sixth place finish overall running 11.87 seconds. She ran 11.81 to win her prior heat. While she had hoped to medal, her performance nonetheless is a tremendous accomplishment.

Warner, 16, won the C 800m final in 2 minutes 16.71 seconds. She was sixth in her 800m heat finishing in 2:18.67 seconds.

Penn, 16, had a best leap of 5.22 metres in the Long Jump to advance to the B final finishing 6th and ranked 14th overall.

Erickson, 17, ran the 100m Hurdles in 14.76 seconds but was withdrawn from the C final as an injury prevention measure.

Bradshaw, 17, placed fifth in the B Triple Jump final with a leap of 13.90m and ranked 13th overall. His opening jump of 14.33m in the preliminary round was his best jump of the Games.

McMaster, 17, in just the sixth 400m Intermediate Hurdles race of his career after running a tremendous 250m unfortunately push down the seventh hurdle, subsequently being disqualified. To add to the disappointment in his second chance of a mark in the B final, he was charged with a false start.

Team Official and Athletics Coach Ralston Henry congratulated his athletes for their collective efforts and encourages them to be confident and work harder to reach their true potentials in the sport.

There were numerous days of cancellations due to insufficient wind and an extra competition day at the latter point of the sailing competition. BVI sailor and opening ceremony flag bearer, Sam Morrell, 15, competing in the Byte CII Dinghy regatta however, managed to place 13th in the final race and climb 3 spots to rank 22nd overall in the fleet. He scored a total of 125 points and was able to finish in the top 15 three times (12th, 13th and 14th) during his eight total races. Both Sam and his coach, Chris Watters were pleased at the strong ending to his competition.

Swimmer, Amarah Phillip, 16, had the opportunity to compete in two events unlike her teammates. She placed sixth in her 50m Butterfly heat in 31.05 seconds and seventh in the 50m Free Style in 29.28, but did not advance to the semis in either event. She was privileged to be the closing ceremony flag bear of the BVI delegation.

Proud mother and coach while at the Games, Tracy Bradshaw was satisfied with the performances and elated to share in the Games with both daughters Amarah and Elinah, the BVI’s top swimmers.

10624778_700421073372164_1325521819460656315_nCultural and Educational Programme (CEP) Activities
In addition to competing, Team BVI took full advantage of the numerous cultural and educational activities provided throughout and outside of the Youth Olympic Village (YOV).

Activities ranged from daily interaction and Yogging amongst the numerous country booths in the World Culture Village set within the YOV; the learn and share booths that focused on WADA outreach, career programmes, fair play, injury prevention; the “Pump it Up” performances highlighting various types of Chinese performing arts, and in particular the BVI booth created by the Xiongzhou Junior High School.

Team BVI had the opportunity to exchange gifts with members of the junior high who presented unique rain flower stones to the BVI delegation.

Additionally, on Wednesday, August 27, Deya Erickson, and official, Ralston Henry interacted with Thomas Bach, International Olympic President as participants of the IOC Youth Session, while the previous day team BVI bonded with each other as well as athletes from other countries on the Nanjing Adventure and Treasure Activity.

Even though the Games have ended, the experience will live on in Team BVI who are appreciative to have “Shared the Games and Shared the Dreams” of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.