IOC, NOCs and Government of Japan reaffirm commitment to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Tokyo, Japan Photo: Yoshikazu Sekiguchi

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach spoke with all 206 NOCs including the BVIOC on Friday, January 22 and confirmed all are fully committed to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With 6 months to go until the Games, President Bach reaffirmed the IOC’s commitment to the Games to be held on July 23, 2021. “Together with its Japanese partners and friends, the IOC is fully concentrated on and committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this year.”

BVIOC President Ephraim Penn and Secretary General, Lloyd Black took part in the virtual meeting.

“The IOC and organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been in continuous discussions on how to host the Games safely – both for the competing athletes and delegations as well as for the host country,” said Mr. Penn. “There is full commitment to seeing the Games through which is a message that must be made clear to all athletes who are currently training and preparing to compete.”

The BVIOC through Chef de Mission for the Games, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott have constant contact with the elite track and field athletes slated to compete at Tokyo 2020. This includes Eldred Henry (shot put) and Kyron McMaster (400m Hurdles) qualified for their events in 2019 and Chantel Malone (long jump) and Tokyo 2020 hopeful Ashley Kelly (400m).

“All of our athletes are doing well,” said Mrs. Harrigan-Scott. “While their training schedules had to be adapted to meet with the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations, all four of the athletes are focused, working hard and are determined to be on their best form when the summer comes around. There’s no denying that the lack of competitions and a dead season can take its toll, but they each have a support network not just through their coaches and peers, but also through each other and a pro-active Executive at the BVIOC who ensure that their needs are being met so as to minimize any distraction from the task at hand.”

In addition to the elite athletes, Thad Lettsome (sailing) and Elinah Philip (swimming) are also hopeful of gaining a spot on the team through the Universality programme but this will not be confirmed until closer to the Games in July.

Mrs. Harrigan-Scott will be attending the Chef de Mission meeting on February 9 where updates on the preparations for the Games will be shared by the Tokyo 2020 organisers.

Rumours of cancellation “categorically untrue”
A statement issued by the IOC on January 22 also rebutted news reports which cast doubt on the support from the Tokyo Government quoting a statement made by the Japanese Government:

“Some news reports circulating today are claiming that the Government of Japan has privately concluded that the Tokyo Olympics will have to be cancelled because of the coronavirus. This is categorically untrue.

“At an IOC Executive Board meeting in July last year, it was agreed that the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held on July 23 this year, and the programme and venues for the Games were rescheduled accordingly. All parties involved are working together to prepare for a successful Games this summer.

“We will be implementing all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and will continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer.”

Local coaches benefit from Session Planning webinar delivered by Jason Blake , a EUFA Pro Licensed Coach

Several regional coaches and technical directors joined dozens of local coaches on Saturday, January 23rd on a Session Planning webinar hosted by Jason Blake, a UEFA Pro License Coach and founder of Global Soccer Education with over fifteen years’ experience of soccer coaching in the English Academy system with Southampton FC, AFC Bournemouth and Burnley FC.

Blake, who is currently working with the Canadian Soccer Association as well as being the Technical Director of the West Canada Soccer Academy, took the participants through the basic principles of session planning and put across his own ideas on best practices as well as making sure everyone understood that coaching is not all about following someone else’s philosophy but also creating your own ideas through experience and knowledge sharing.

“Session planning should be kept simple,” noted Blake. “You don’t want to give an overload of information to the players or cause confusion. I use the rule of 3, where I only plan for 3 practices within a session, 3 coaching points per practice and 3 progressions per practice.”

Blake also pointed out that coaches need to be consistent, have trust in the programmes they put together and stick to plans and include all players in the sessions with some built in flexibility in case things do not quite according to plan.

“Coach education is of paramount importance if we are to develop our football provision on the island. To have the best possible football we need to have the best possible coaches and to achieve that the BVIFA is offering lots of opportunities and support for local coaches to continue to develop and improve,” commented Dan Neville the BVIFA Technical Director.

Recently the BVIFA partnered with the H Lavity Stoutt Community College as well as the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation (ISSPF) to assist in providing resources and online courses to further develop the knowledge of coaches and the signs are already very encouraging as the standards of play across youth, women and men are on the rise.

The players’ side is not being ignored as the BVIFA is also putting on webinars that benefit that side of the game, including establishing clear player pathways, definitive understanding of roles, clear and precise tactical responsibilities by position, the importance of nutrition and the benefits behind a good night’s sleep!

Islanders reclaim title to BVIFA President’s Cup

The Islanders beat Sugar Boys 2-0 to win the BVIFA President’s Cup and reclaim their title. Photo: BVIFA

The Islanders FC completed a Domestic Double on Sunday 24th January 2021, when they slid past arch rivals, Sugar Boys FC, 2-0, to lift the BVI Football Association’s President’s Cup at the National Stadium venue in East End / Long Look.

Usually when these two sides meet, the game is tense and tightly contested with this final no different as each team probed for the breakthrough against resolute defenses and tough tackling midfields.

The longer a game goes on though – when you are playing the habitual champion side and you are not able to gain advantage through goal scoring – the more likely, history has shown, the Islanders are to wear you down and snaffle a victory.

And this is exactly how it went on Sunday as a game that was in deadlock until the 74th minute was suddenly blown wide open by Rohan Lenon.

Karu Charles broke down the right-hand side, evaded two challenges and played the perfect ball into the path of Lenon, who made no mistake shooting home with power and accuracy. The destiny of the Cup was sealed when Lenon was quickest to react to a Montgomery Butler goal kick in the 81st minute, dribbling around the last defender and wrapping up victory with a thumping strike.

“The game was a great advertisement for the quality of football now being played,” noted BVIFA President Mr. Andy Bickerton. “A good crowd enjoyed a very tight game which was decided by the introduction of Islanders’ veteran striker “Chi-Chi” Leonard with 2 opportunist goals in 5 minutes. Both teams should be congratulated a fitting finale to the season.”

“It was great to win, regain the trophy from the Sugar Boys and show them that we are the real Champions,” commented Islanders’ Captain, Ranalie Cains.

In 2017, The Sugar Boys had beaten the Islanders, 1-0 in the final and in 2018 the Sugar Boys knocked the Islanders out in the semifinal, 5-1, before going on to beat Wolues FC 5-2 in the Final

Panthers top BVIFA U13 League with One Caribbean leading the U17s

Goals galore highlighted the BVI Football Association’s U13 and U17 Youth Leagues on Saturday and Sunday, January 16th and 17th with no fewer than 43 goals scored across the 5 games that took place at the East End / Long Look venue.

Action got underway in the U13’s with the Sugar Boys FC overcoming Old Madrid FC 7-2 courtesy of a hat trick from Shau’mauri Lennard (6th, 30th and 43rd minutes), a brace from Kyle Farrington (9th and 29th) and one apiece from Liam Munn (3rd) and Kenroy Williams (50th).

David Chinnery and Malik LaTouche scored for Old Madrid.

Also, in U13 action the Wolues FC reached double digits in a 10-1 hammering of VG Utd with both Charlie Potgeiter (15th, 24th and 57th) and Oakley Hodges (6th, 44th and 53rd) scoring hat tricks. Blake Kirk netted a brace (25th and 48th), whilst Sofia Preddy (21st) and Giada Palladino (30th) were also on the scoresheet.

Qu’yle Billingy scored what turned out to be a consolation goal for VG in the 23rd minute.

The Panthers FC rounded out the U13 games beating One Caribbean FC 7-1, with a rush of first half goals putting them 4 goals up inside the first 21 minutes. Myles Penn grabbed two of those on his way to a hat trick (3rd, 9th and 32nd), an own goal bonus came their way in the 18th minute, Christian Vanterpool scored twice (21st and 57th) and Jaheim Bijai rounded things off in the 50th minute.

Devonte Smith found the back of the net for One Caribbean.

The Panthers’ win was enough to keep them on top of the standings, ahead of the Wolues albeit on goal difference with both teams on 9 points. In third are the Sugar Boys on 6 points.

In the U17 League, One Caribbean managed to bring some relief to the Club, running out 6-1 victors against One Love FC.

“We had a game plan to come out and score as many goals as we could, and we did that as well as missing several other chances to add to the score line,” commented Coach Morris Mark.

Dylan Cline and Johari Lacey both scored a brace. There was a goal right from the restart of the second half for Chad Fearon and Tai Thomas also scored for One Caribbean, whilst Jalen Prentice netted for One Love.

And to bring a hectic weekend to a close, VG Utd had a resounding 8-0 win against Old Madrid.

“Definitely a good restart after the break,” noted VG’s Manager, Jermain Abrams. “We were just a little bit sharper than them and had good ball movement. Lewis Munn was impressive scoring a hat trick, but skipper, Jaden Abrams also led the defense well.”

Munn scored his goals in the 10th, 32nd and 38th minutes, Abrams and Samuel Gilford also found the back of the net in the first half, whilst Mekyle Williams, Cedric Mars and Levon Williams all scored in the second half of a dominant display.

One Caribbean are top of the standings with 9 points but have played one game more than VG Utd who are second on 6 points just ahead of the Wolues, who also have 6 points, on goal difference.

BVI Sailor Thad Lettsome places 4th in U21 Laser Open at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series, Fort Lauderdale

BVI sailor, Thad Lettsome placed 4th in the U21 Laser Open at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Fort Lauderdale, 140 Laser sailors across three fleets took to the water from 15-18 January for the first major event of the year. Photo: RBVIYC

The BVI’s top Laser sailor, Thad Lettsome was back in action this past weekend at the West Marine US Open Sailing Series in Fort Lauderdale, 140 Laser sailors across three fleets took to the water from 15-18 January for the first major event of 2021. The first race of the year for Lettsome – who took on 41 other sailors from 12 nations from Canada to Chile – was set to be the stiffest competition that the western hemisphere has seen in over 14 months. With the Tokyo Olympics looming on the horizon this event was to be a test of skills for some of the region’s top athletes.

Four days of racing were scheduled and a total of 10 races but, with fickle and challenging conditions, the Race Committee were forced to call off racing on day one and send the sailors back ashore.

On day two, wind, sea state and current were very challenging for all competitors, as gusts of 20-22 knots came down from the west creating a highly variable race track. Lettsome came off the starting line in good form in the first two races, putting up his best two scores of the series with a 14th in race 1, and a 15th in race 2. Patience was a key component in both races, as the wind was shifting upwards of 4-5 times each windward leg. In the final race of the day, a large wind direction change led Lettsome to the wrong side of the racetrack leaving him clawing back at the competition to secure a better position. Passing an impressive 12 boats on the final leg, he finished a hard fought 29th in race 3.

On day three of the competition, the Race Committee again struggled with light and variable conditions. After five hours of waiting on the Atlantic Ocean, the first race was started in a light 5-8 knots, with directional changes of 30-40 degrees. Lettsome once again proved that he is in a masterclass in starting, coming off the start line in great form to round the first turning mark in 8th place overall. Unfortunately, on the final leg he found himself in a ‘rip current’ that saw him fall down the leaderboard to finish in 27th in what would be the only race of the day.

On the final day of competition, the sailors were greeted by a new wind direction, with another light and variable day with winds coming out of the North. In race one, just seconds after the start, the World Sailing Umpires penalized Lettsome with a 720degree spin having judged him to have used an illegal ‘pumping’ manouevre at the start. This left him few options to get back in to the race and required an epic come-from-behind game of catch up. Ultimately he was able to pass ten boats to finish a disappointing 32nd, his worst score of the series.

The final two races of the regatta were also challenging with Lettsome again finding himself on the incorrect side of the race course. In the final race of the day, Lettsome and US Olympian Charlie Buckingham both executed fantastic starts and led up the course on the right side of the beat. Both were blindsided by a 40 degree shift to the left leaving them rounding the first turning mark in the 30’s. Lettsome’s bad luck finally wore off and a lot of hard work saw him pass 15 boats on the final run of the race. Securing a respectable 18th the impressive feat was even sweeter as he finished ahead of Buckingham!

After seven races, Thad finished 27th overall, and 4th in the under 21 division. While the final result may not have met his goal of top 15 overall, he did execute his process goals, one of which was creating world class starts in each race. With lots to build up and work on, Thad looks forward to the next major competitions. Guatemalan sailor, and 3-time Olympian Juan Mageli, took the overall win in the first competition of 2021. Second was 2021 Olympian Pancho Guanavara from Argentina, and third, 2-time Olympian, Charlie Buckingham from the USA.

Click here for final results.

Wolues beat Panthers to stay in the lead in BVIFA Women’s Futsal League

Tola Broderick scored a hat trick for the Wolues FC  in the 8 -0 win over the Panthers FC in the BVIFA Women’s Futsal League Game on January 16, 2021
Photo: BVIFA

The Wolues FC welcomed back head coach John Reilly with a resounding 8-0 victory against the Panthers FC as the BVI Football Association’s Women’s Futsal League continued at Cedar School on Saturday 16th January 2021.

Having not played a league match in over a month, and with Coach Reilly pitch side for the first time, the girls were keen to set the tone early in the game and leave no doubt who the league leaders were.

Passing the ball around with confidence the Wolues created all the early chances and it was Gabi Jermyn who opened the scoring, firing home at the back post from a Darci Reich cross.

The Panthers though looked to hit back straight away, and it took the cat-like reflexes of Tinia Van Zoost to keep the lead intact before the Wolues were able to put the game to bed with some silky passing moves.

Tola Broderick took full advantage of some great build up play, often inspired by Ariel Mohammed, to claim her first hat trick for the club and further goals came from Reich (2), Jermyn with her second of the game and Zolita Bamford as the Wolues dominated.

“It feels amazing to be part of a team that has put so much effort into getting to the level we are at now,” commented Broderick. “We have trained together for years waiting to put our hard work into match situations and I’m proud of our progress. Having scored a hat trick is merely a bonus!”

“Each of the goals was a result of great buildup of play with wonderful final passes that has become a bit of a trademark for the Wolues Ladies’ team,” noted assistant coach, Walter Reich.

Islanders FC to play Sugar Boys in Presidents Cup Final Meanwhile, in Men’s football, the Sugar Boys FC and the Islanders FC will meet in the final of the BVIFA President’s cup after both secured comfortable wins in the “Clash of the Big 4” semifinals.

De Andre Rogers, Ranalie Cains, from the penalty spot and Kevin Fisher- Daniel scored the goals for the Islanders in their 3-1 win against the Panthers FC, for whom Timothy Louisnel scored a late consolation.

“The win was a good one for us,” said Cains. “We got knocked out in the first round of the last President’s Cup, but we played a good game, and I knew a win would be the result.”

The Sugar Boys went ahead in the second half against the Wolues FC through Derrol Redhead and made sure of reaching next Saturday’s final when Jorge Gonzalez made it 2-0 in the dyeing moments.

The match will be played on Sunday, January 24th at the BVIFA’s East End / Long Look venue with a 4pm kick off.

BVIFA signs MoU with HLSCC to develop capacity in sports management and coaching

L-R: Mrs. Juliana Luke, BVIFA Gen Sec., Mr. Andy Bickerton, BVIFA President, Dr. Richard Georges PhD , President of HLSCC, Mr. Dan Neville, BVIFA Technical Director at the signing of a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to develop local capacity in sports management and coaching. .Photo: BVIFA

The BVI Football Association and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) have formed a strategic partnership, with the signing of a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to develop local capacity in sports management and coaching.

“This relationship will allow for the professional development of FA members and all stakeholders,” commented BVIFA President Mr. Andy Bickerton, who signed the MOU along with Dr. Richard Georges PhD, President of HLSCC.

Some of the specific areas will be the use of HLSCC facilities by the BVIFA for training purposes, use of the BVIFA’s facilities by the college for shared vision activities and the BVIFA providing regional and international contacts of interest to the college.

“The College and the BVIFA have been talking and working together for a number of years,” said Georges. “This Memorandum of Understanding formalizes this collaborative relationship while laying a foundation for more ambitious projects in the future.”

The use of the HLSCC campus to provide training facilities will further enhance the BVIFA’s ambitions to provide top class education programmes for its coaches and, according to BVIFA Technical Director, Dan Neville, is another step to add to the recent partnership with the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation.

“We are delighted to be working in conjunction with college to deliver high quality live and online coaching courses in the BVI and ultimately regionally. HLSCC’s outstanding facilities and infrastructure will complement our coaching courses perfectly to deliver a high standard of sports education both locally and even regionally,” said Neville.

The BVIFA is also developing its own accredited foundation level courses to act as springboards into CONCACAF level programmes.

BVIFA partners with ISSPF to provide online training resources for coaches

Taking further strides in the ongoing development of its coaches the BVI Football Association has signed a partnership agreement with the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation (ISSPF) to provide cutting edge online training resources delivered by leading soccer professionals.

The online courses are for all abilities and knowledge levels and include topics such as nutrition, psychology and mental skills, youth soccer player development, training methodology, fitness training, tactical analysis, talent identification and the principles of coaching.

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton saw the partnership as an exciting and necessary move noting that “this is another step forward for the BVIFA as we create further learning opportunities for our coaches. We have seen significant improvement in the level of coaching particularly over the last year which has translated into an improved level of playing performance in our youth teams. We now have a significant number of talented youngsters transitioning from our youth program into both national league teams and the national team. They have been well coached and are improving the overall standard of play in the territory.”

The educational possibilities provided through the courses are open to almost anyone involved in the game as a coach, manager, physio, trainer or talent scout and ideal to provide insights in best practice to design and implement plans and sessions with individual players and teams.

As a leading online soccer education organization, ISSPF is not only seen as the trusted partner of elite, semi-professional, amateur and youth soccer clubs, international & continental federations, but also as key educational partners of schools, colleges, universities and training institutes worldwide.

In an invited statement ISSPF confirmed the partnership. “We are delighted to become the official online educational provider and partner for the British Virgin Islands Football Association. Provision of bespoke soccer related courses, across coaching & performance development is something we are proud to work together with for the progression of all individuals interested in improving their skill set. Our BVIFA accredited courses cover a range of coaching interests from grassroots, through to the elite professional coaching level.”

BVIFA Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville, who has been instrumental, not only in this initiative, but also in creating pathways for coaches and players to fully realize their potential concluded that “Coach education and developing our suite of online coaching qualifications is at the forefront of our strategic plan and this partnership aligns both elements. We will be using the ISPFF platform to upskill our local coaches and will also be able to offer the courses to Coaches across the Region.”

The program has already gone “live” on the internet and access for coaches will be via links posted on the Association’s social media pages.

Islanders FC take BVIFA National League Trophy and $10K!

Islanders FC take the BVIFA National League Trophy as well as the winner’s check for $10,000. Photo:BVIFA

BVI Football Association President Mr. Andy Bickerton was on hand at the weekend to present the Islanders FC with the National League Trophy as well as the winner’s check for $10,000.

Other Awardees were
Most Goals: (20) Nigel Sanderson Panthers FC
MVP: Sheldon Harry, Islanders FC
Outstanding Youth Player: Luca Reich, Wolues FC
Golden Glove: Linden Williams Suger Boys FC
Fair Play: Sugar Boys FC

“Congratulations go to the Islanders on securing another National League Championship,” commented Bickerton. “They played exciting, attacking football and deserved their success. They can now look forward to their opportunity to compete in the Caribbean Club Championship in 2021!”

Panthers, Wolues and One Caribbean secure wins in BVIFA National Youth League games

Miles Penn scored six goals as Panthers FC went on an eight-goal rampage against VG Utd in the BVI Football Association’s National U13 Youth League on Saturday 19th December 2020 at East End / Long Look.

The final score was 8-1 and saw the young Panthers stay top of the standings. “Honestly my team played some lovely football,” beamed Coach Wayne Phillip. “They were passing the ball, dribbling, playing aggressively and it was brilliant to watch.”

Penn’s first goal for Panthers came in the 16th minute after Kyia Flax had given VG Utd the lead in the 14th minute, but then the flood gates opened with Penn scoring again in the 21st minute, to give his team a 2-1 lead at half time and then in the 31st, to complete his hat trick, and the 59th, 60th and 61st.

“Penn’s left foot was sweet, and he made great contact for his goals, but the whole team played well. It was a collective effort and all in all it was a really good performance,” noted Phillips.

The other scorers were Latriel Williams and Christian Vanterpool

Also, in U13 action, the Wolues FC beat The Sugar Boys FC 3-1 with Oakley Hodges rounding out the scoring in the 90th minute after an own goal and a 50th minute strike from Charlie Potgeiter had put the Wolues in command before Kyle Farrington pulled one back for the Sugar Boys.

In the U17 Clash between One Caribbean FC and VG Utd, it was again the team from Virgin Gorda who took the lead through Deshawn Richardson in the 5th minute, but Azarni Callwood equalized in the 16th minute from the penalty spot and with another goal from Callwood almost at the final whistle, One Caribbean came away with a 2-1 victory.

“It was a battle,” commented Coach Morris Mark. “We stuck to our game plan though, stifled the speed and skill of their senior players and with Ryan Lettsome and Callwood back from school in the UK we had enough firepower to come through.”

Nicholas Haycraft was called upon to make a fine save in the dying moments and Dylan Cline and Callwood combined on a swift counterattack that saw Callwood net the winner.

In the other U17 results, Wolues FC beat Rebels FC 1-0 with a Michael Palladino 8th minute goal separating the teams.