Athlete performances at Tokyo 2020 Olympics brings BVI in sight of podium – BVIOC seeks investment into elite athletes

The British Virgin Islands was represented by 3 athletes in 2 sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which concluded on August 8 with a closing ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The small team comprising Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles), Chantel Malone (long jump) and Elinah Phillip (50m freestyle) was the strongest set to represent the territory at any Olympic Games.

Eldred Henry (shot put) was the first athlete to have qualified for Tokyo 2020 but he was forced to pull out due to an injury in his throwing arm.

In a Game of firsts for the territory, McMaster and Malone became the BVI’s first 2 athletes to advance to the finals to compete amongst the world’s best athletes in their events. They each were the first athletes to compete in the hurdles and long jump respectively. McMaster was the first athlete to win his heats and the first to make the top 4 finalists to cross the line with his time of 47.08 – current 4th fastest time and the world’s 8th fastest time ever – in what has been classed as the event’s fastest Olympic race. McMaster and Phillip also set National Records with Phillip’s time of 25.74 marking her as the top Caribbean performer in the 50m Free.

Harrigan-Scott, a three-times Olympian and the first female to represent the BVI at the Olympics in 2008, led the organisation and management of the team at the Games.

Speaking at a wrap up virtual press conference on August 4 after the final competition for the BVI, Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee congratulated and thanked the athletes, their coaches and National Federations and also acknowledged the efforts of the Chef de Mission and Lloyd Black, Secretary General for the BVIOC, who was the COVID Liaison Officer for the delegation.

Penn went on to explain that the impressive results of the team at the Games was many years in the making that required planning and funding to support the athletes in their training and preparations for the Games. He highlighted that the performances put the athletes as serious podium contenders in upcoming Games and that the opportunity was open to the private sector to support the pathway to get athletes to the finals and ultimately to the podium of the Olympics.

“The athletes have been preparing for these Games for 5 years and are recipients of an Olympic Scholarship which offers financial and technical support so they can train and compete at qualifying meets for the Olympics. In addition, the BVIOC set up an Elite Athlete scholarship which puts money into the hands of the athletes to ease their financial stress so that they can concentrate on preparing for competition. Their successes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will make it easier for us to try and solicit more funding from the private sector and bolster the structure we have in place to support them so they can develop to the best of their ability.”

The Chef de Mission, who is responsible for the organisation and logistical management of the delegation as well as the technical aspects of the athletes’ competitions and daily schedules and activities while at the Games, reviewed the athletes’ performances and acknowledged the commitment of their coaches and support of the BVIOC and encouraged a forward movement to help the athletes reach their potential.

“While our athletes may come from a small nation where the resources are more limited than larger countries, they come to compete with the same heart, talent and dedication so if we can figure out a way to level the playing field and really invest in them, you will be surprised at where they can take us because they are at that level and they are exceptionally good.”

Harrigan-Scott wrapped up the experience with a reflection on the organisation of the Games. “It actually was an amazing Games and the organisers, volunteers and Government of Japan did an incredible job under the constraints and concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am glad the Games were not cancelled as the athletes were ready to compete and we have seen some exceptional performances here.”

Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, MHA. Deputy Premier Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, who was in Japan to witness the finals, congratulated the athletes on their achievements and thanked them and the delegation for their roles in the success of the BVI’s appearance at Tokyo 2020 and to pledge more support for the athletes.

“We now understand what it takes to compete at this level and I will be focused on what we can do to assist more. We know that we have to invest more in sports and be more consistent in our support for our athletes and I will be working on this in consultation with the BVIOC,” said Dr. the Honourable Minister Wheatley.

In addition to the 3 athletes, the Chef de Mission, Ephraim Penn and Lloyd Black the BVI delegation included Team Coach Winston Potter, Coach Lennox Graham (McMaster), Coach Dwight Phillips (Malone), Coach Brien Moffitt (Elinah) and Sofia Fay, BVIOC PRO/Reporter.

The athletes, including Henry who is on the road to recovery, will continue with their training and preparations for upcoming competitions after a short rest and recovery break. A return date to the BVI is not yet confirmed based on their training and competition schedules. Malone and McMaster have sights on competing at the Diamond League events in Europe in August and September respectively.

Kyron McMaster delivers historic performance at Tokyo 2020 Olympic finals

Kyron McMaster of Team British Virgin Islands competes during round one of the Men’s 400m hurdles heats on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Kyron McMaster wrapped up Team BVI’s performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games on August 3 with an historic 4th place finish in what is classed as the fastest 400m Hurdles race of all time. McMaster’s time of 47.08 sets a new National Record and Personal Best and is ranked as the 5th top fastest times at an Olympics and the 8th all time fastest in the world. He is the first BVI athlete to achieve a top 4 position in an Olympic final.

“Being in the race felt amazing. The plan was to come out and just execute the race as best as possible. I came into this race with a personal best of 47.50 and I chopped off 0.4 off my best and I literally gave it my all,” said McMaster.

4 years ago, 47.08 would have been a World Record or an Olympic Record but with the medal contenders consistently running 47 in their pre-Olympic competitions, the bar was raised for Tokyo 2020. The 3 top spots were won by Karsten Warholm (Norway) who set a new World Record and Olympic Record with a blistering time of 45.94 followed by Benjamin Rai (USA) 46.17 and Alison do Santos (Brazil) for the bronze with a time of 46.72.

“What you saw today was the epitome of greatness with the world’s top 3 hurdlers and I am grateful that my performance was enough to get me in the top four to cross the line,” said McMaster. “These guys are not the average runners anymore and I will be aiming to get to their level.”

McMaster, who was racing after 2 weeks of treatment on his right quad which he tweaked at the Diamond League race in Sweden, was the first male athlete of the territory and second national athlete to advance to an Olympic final. He is also the first athlete to win individual event heats at the Olympics. His time is an OECS, Caribbean and Central American record.

Chantel Malone of Team British Virgin Islands competes in the Women’s Long Jump Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Chantel Malone, who is the BVI’s first Olympic long jump competitor was the territory’s first athlete to advance to the finals when she jumped a distance of 6.82 in the Qualifier round. She closed out her first Olympic appearance with a mark of 6.50 in her third attempt falling short of her expectations and abilities.

“I am very disappointed with my result,” said Malone. “My intention was to go out there and at least execute and I didn’t. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the experience and being able to compete as a finalist at the Olympics. I am going to do what I need to do in order to stay on my A game and be able to compete and get on the podium.”

Elinah Phillip, the 50m freestyle swimmer, had concluded her second Olympic appearance on July 30 after she set a new National Record and PB with a non-advancing time of 25.74 to place 2nd in her heat of the qualifying round. The result positioned her 34/81 in the 50 Free and identified her as the top female Caribbean athlete in the event.

Kyron McMaster qualifies for the 400m Hurdles finals at Tokyo 2020

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Adding to the exciting action of the day on August 1, Kyron McMaster joined teammate, long jumper Chantel Malone in making history when he won his heat in the 400m hurdles semifinals with a time of 48.26 to automatically qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic event finals.

“I got to the warm-up track ahead of the race and just zoned in and went through the normal routine. Coach Lennox and I had agreed that once I got to the race the plan was solely to run to get into the finals rather than to try and run hard, and we accomplished that goal. Now it’s just to rest and get the body tuned up and get ready for the finals,” said McMaster.

McMaster became the first male athlete of the territory and second national athlete to advance to an Olympic final after Malone’s performance earlier in the day. He is also the first athlete to win individual event heats at the Olympics.

“The goal is not finished just yet,” said McMaster. “We are on the homestretch and it’s just to complete the race by getting on the line and giving my best!”

The BVI delegation, which includes Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee, Lloyd Black, Secretary General, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission, Team Coach Winston Potter and McMaster’s personal Coach Lennox Graham were in the stands to watch the semi-finals.

“While we were not surprised to see Kyron cross the line first, we were no less excited about the result. Kyron is a fighter and there is no way that he would not have done whatever he needed to do to make it into the finals. We are very proud of his success,” said Penn. “To have athletes competing in the finals at an Olympic Games is a plan that has been in the making since the BVIOC’s Quadrennial goals of 2012 and to witness it happening at Tokyo 2020 with 2 of our successful senior track and field athletes who are Olympic Scholarship recipients is very thrilling and we can’t wait to watch their closing performances.”

The 400m hurdles finals takes place on Tuesday, August 3 at 12:20pm JST (11:20pm, Monday, August 2 BVI time) when McMaster will race in lane 4 against the world’s top 3 hurdlers including world record holder Karsten Warholm (Norway), Rai Benjamin (USA) and Alison dos Santos (Brazil).

Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, MHA. Deputy Premier Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture arrived into Japan a day before the finals to witness the historic occasion.

McMaster’s Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 was preceded with a short but successful season where he set a new National Record and PB when he ran a time of 47.50 at the USA Track and Field Golden Games, Walnut, California in May 2021.

A two-times Diamond League Champion and ranked number 4 by World Athletics, McMaster made major history for the BVI when he won the Territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal when he was 21 years old with a 48.25 first-place finish at the Gold Coast 2018 Games in Australia. He is also set new event records for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games at Barranquilla 2018 and for the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships at Toronto 2018.

Malone, who secured her spot in the long jump finals with an automatic qualifying mark of 6.82m in the Qualifying round, will also compete on Tuesday, August 3 at 10:50am (9:50pm Monday, August 2 BVI time). Elinah Phillip, the 50m freestyle swimmer, wrapped up her 2nd Olympic appearance on July 30 after she set a new National Record and PB with a non-advancing time of 25.74 in her heat of the qualifying round. The result ranks her top female Caribbean athlete in the event.

Chantel Malone advances to long jump finals at Tokyo 2020

Chantel Malone after qualifying for the long jump finals on August 1 at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Chantel Malone made history for the British Virgin Islands once more when she qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games long jump finals with a distance of 6.82m achieved on her 3rd attempt at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Sunday, August 1.

“I’m excited and happy to be going into the finals with a 6.82- especially as I had to take some time off ahead of the Games to work on recovering from an injury that I sustained at a meet at the beginning of July,” said Malone. “Jumping an 82 was the reassurance I needed and is a testament to my growth as an athlete just because the old me would have folded after the first two bad jumps, but today, I reminded myself that it only takes one and to execute it.”

Malone became the first athlete of the territory to advance to an Olympic final.

“I may be the first athlete to make it to the finals but honestly, that’s always been the goal and to actually be on that podium. The goal is to execute and hopefully we will be good but it’s a tough field out there with a lot of automatic qualifiers, so I just have to bring my A-Game and stay focused.”

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee was watching the event from the Olympic Family tribune along with Secretary General Lloyd Black.

“We were so excited when Chantel not only qualified for the finals, but that she managed to hit a distance beyond the automatic qualifying mark of 6.75,” said Penn. “The BVIOC and family of National Federations congratulate Chantel and her coach, Dwight Phillips on this achievement and we are looking forward to Tuesday’s event and to cheering her on in support of the goal for a podium finish.”

Tokyo 2020 is Malone’s first Olympics which she qualified for when she leapt a distance of 7.08 at the Florida International “Pro Addition” International Track Meet, Miramar in March 2021. The mark was a new National Record and a Season and Personal Best for the athlete who is ranked number 8 by World Athletics.

Malone’s history-making flair was demonstrated when she won the BVI’s first PanAm Games medal when she took the gold at Lima 2019 with a leap of 6.68m.

The finals take place on Tuesday, August 3 at 10:50am (9:50pm, Monday, August 2 BVI time).

Kyron McMaster, will compete in the 400m hurdles semi-finals later today after he won his qualifying heat with a time of 48.79 on Friday, July 30. Elinah Phillip, the 50m freestyle swimmer, wrapped up her 2nd Olympic appearance on July 30 after she set a new National Record and PB with a non-advancing time of 25.74 in her heat of the qualifying round. The result ranks her top female Caribbean athlete in the event.

Phillip sets new 50m Freestyle National Record & McMaster advances to 400m Hurdle semi finals at Tokyo 2020

Elinah Phillip, of British Virgin Islands, swims in a women’s 50-meter freestyle heat at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Elinah Phillip set a new National Record and PB when she placed 2nd in her 50m Freestyle Heat with a non-advancing time of 25.74 at the Tokyo Aquatic Center, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games the evening of July 30, 2021.

The time is an automatic qualifier for the upcoming FINA Worlds and ranks Elinah as the Caribbean’s top female 50m freestyle athlete. It also improves her standing in the inaugural PanAm Junior Games slated to be held at the end of this year.

Earlier in the day, Kyron McMaster made national history when he advanced to the semi-finals in the 400m hurdles at his Olympic debut to become the first male athlete to compete in an Olympic semi and the only athlete to win an individual event heat. He joins Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, to become the 2nd athlete to compete in a semi-final event at an Olympic Games. Kyron will race in Heat 3 Lane 7 on August 1.

Competing in her second Olympics, Elinah – who was also the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony – was very excited and proud of the result which positions her 34th out of 81 competitors.

“It’s a big day for me – I finished my pre dentistry summer program at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and came and set a new National Record and PB at the Olympics,” said the 21-year old swimmer. “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed because this achievement means so much to me personally after a very turbulent 2020. I am very grateful for all the support that I have received from my family, the BVI Olympic Committee, FIU, my swim coach Brien Moffitt and my teammates and everyone back home. I can’t express how much it means to me.”

Watching from the Olympic Family tribune were President of the BVIOC Ephraim Penn, Secretary General Lloyd Black and Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott.

“Elinah’s performance this evening has impressed us all and made us incredibly proud,” said Penn. “On behalf of the BVIOC and our member federations, I congratulate Elinah on her achievement and thank her for giving 110% and doing us proud. I also would like to recognize her coach, Brien Moffitt who has demonstrated a sound appreciation for Elinah’s potential and who, in just a few months, has helped her to achieve great results and outperform herself every time.”

A swim coach at FIU, Coach Moffitt was responsible for recruiting the 21-year old to the University as part of its longterm commitment to developing a strong swimming team.

“I am so very proud of Elinah’s accomplishment today and, to be able to be at her best at the biggest sporting stage that there is, is something that shows her resilience and mental fortitude,” said Coach Moffitt. ”When you look at the path and journey she has taken to get to this point it’s very remarkable. We’re grateful and happy with what the results today but we will be coming back to work after a short and plan to aim higher and dream bigger.”

Elinah is the BVI’s leading national swimmer, holding records in the 50, 100, and 200m freestyle and the 50m butterfly. She made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016. She is the first swimmer and the youngest athlete to represent the BVI at an Olympic Games.

Ranked number 8 in her event by World Athletics, Chantel Malone will make her Olympic debut when she competes in the Tokyo 2020 long jump Qualification round on August 1.

BVI showcases colours of the BVI at Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony

Flag bearers Elinah Phillip (50m freestyle) Kyron McMaster (400m hurdler) and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission.represented the British Virgin Islands at the Opening Ceremony to mark the start of the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, 2021

A delegation of three represented the British Virgin Islands at the Opening Ceremony to mark the start of the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23, 2021. Elinah Phillip, the 50m freestyle swimmer was the flag bearer and led ahead of Kyron McMaster (400m hurdler) and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission.

“This has been a long wait with many challenges but we all are finally here. it is exciting. Our athletes are prepared and focused, the energy levels are up and we are ready to go!” said Harrigan-Scott.

Phillip and McMaster in turn described their emotional state as being excited and euphoric and were looking forward to getting inside the Olympic Stadium to experience the atmosphere and to see the venue ahead of the competitions.

Chantel Malone (long jump) who completes the team of 3 for the 32nd Olympiad, landed in Tokyo in the late afternoon of July 23 along with the rest of the BVI’s delegation to include Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC, Lloyd Black, Secretary General and Winston Potter, Team Coach. Swimming coach Brien Moffitt arrived with Phillip on July 18.

“While I was unable to attend the Opening Ceremony in person due to travel delays, I was able to watch our delegation walk into the Olympic Stadium with the flag held high and proud,” said Penn. “These are unusual times and we are entering a new era of Olympic Games. We have a special team that has the full support of the BVIOC and our nation and we are definitely looking forward to their competitions next week.”

The 28th nation to march into the Olympic Stadium, the 3 representatives wore outfits designed by Rhenique Cooper and Ruth Frazer of the BVI and which incorporated the Territory’s colours and traditional dress in a modern design.

“The inspiration behind this design was our original BVI traditional dress. I wanted to take elements of the puff sleeves and the big skirt and modernize it into a dress that a BVIslander of today could wear. Thus, making the skirt tiered and shorter gave it the same effect of being full without feeling weighed down. This is will be my first time designing for the BVI Olympic Committee and I’m very excited. I’m grateful to have this opportunity and it feels very surreal,” said Cooper.

Kristin Frazer, who designed the mask, project managed the production of the Opening Ceremony wear. The men’s button-down shirt and jacket were designed by her mother, Ruth Frazer.

The Opening Ceremony typically is a high demand event where the host nation presents an exceptional performance choreographed to showcase its history, culture, and innovation and to tell a story that reflects its values and that of its Olympic legacy. For Tokyo 2020, the occasion was more subdued than usual with COVID-19 protocol restrictions limiting attendance. Observing the continuous message for delivering a “safe games”, the athlete delegations representing the 206 participating nations marching into the stadium were also smaller in number than in previous editions. There were approximately 6,000 athletes and team officials, 900 Games stakeholders and guests of honour and 3,500 broadcasters and press.

At 11:15pm (JST) His Majesty the Emperor of Japan declared the Games of Tokyo, celebrating the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era open. The Games will proceed with the new Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together” announced by the IOC on July 20.

A total of 11,091 athletes are expected to compete in 33 sports and 339 events at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The BVI’s athletes will compete in 2 sports and 3 events with the following dates and times (adjusted for the BVI) for each of their first round of competitions: McMaster, 400m hurdles heat 1 – 9:55 pm, Thursday, July 29; Elinah Phillip, 50m freestyle heats – 6:00 am, Friday, July 30; Malone long jump qualifying round – 8:50pm, Saturday, July 31. This will be the first Olympics for McMaster and Malone and the second for Phillip who made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016 in Brazil at 16 years of age. She was the BVI’s youngest athlete and first swimmer to compete at an Olympic Games.

The Olympic Games will be broadcast live on NBC with daily team reports and updates from the BVIOC on its social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by Dean Greenaway on ZROD 103.7 and CBN 90.9FM.

BVIOC Presents Team for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games

Team IVB for Tokyo 2020

The Virgin Islands (UK) Team for the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games is today confirmed by the BVI Olympic Committee and Chef de Mission, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott to include two track and field athletes and one swimmer. Kyron McMaster will compete in the men’s 400m hurdles and Chantel Malone will compete in the women’s long jump. Swimmer Elinah Phillip will compete in the women’s 50m freestyle. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games take place in Japan July 23 – August 8, 2021.

McMaster and Phillip will be the flag bearers at the Opening Ceremony on July 23. The athletes will be in clothing and masks respectively designed by Virgin Islanders Ms. Rhenique Cooper and Ms. Kristin Fraser.

This will be the first Olympic Games for McMaster and Malone while Phillip made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil where she was the VI’s youngest athlete and the first to represent the Territory in aquatics at any Olympics.

While Olympian Eldred Henry had an automatic qualification to compete in the shot put at Tokyo 2020, ongoing recovery from an injury in his throwing arm resulted in the decision to step down from the team.

“I am proud to present our athletes for Tokyo 2020,” said Chef Harrigan-Scott, a three times Olympian in the 100m sprint. “Even though COVID-19 has drastically changed the dynamics of the Olympic Games, it did not waiver the determination or drive of our brilliant athletes. They have prepared vigorously to represent the Virgin Islands in their respective events coming up in the next few weeks and, after communicating with each of the athletes and watching their preparatory competitions leading up to Tokyo 2020, I am confident that they will make these Virgin Islands proud.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Tokyo 2020 Games to be rescheduled by one year to take place in the summer of 2021, the IOC, Tokyo 2020 Organisers and the Government of Japan have issued stringent protocols set out in regularly updated Playbooks to ensure the health and safety of all athletes, personnel, delegates, media and the people of Japan. The strict measures for the VI delegation are overseen by appointed COVID Liaison Officers (CLOs) BVIOC Secretary General Mr. Lloyd Black and Chef Harrigan-Scott.

The Chef de Mission highlighted how the response to the pandemic has differentiated Tokyo 2020 from previous Olympic Games. Precautions include restrictive movement of the delegation, strict COVID-19 counter measures which include daily temperature and COVID-19 testing, the inability to attend other sporting events, limited-to-no guest allowance in the Olympic Village, the lack of spectators from foreign countries, no site seeing by the delegation and every movement in Tokyo and Japan needing to be pre-approved by the Japanese Government.

“The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games probably are one of the most anticipated Games in sports,” said Mr. Penn. “The continuing changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have been quite a challenge and on behalf of the BVIOC, I highly commend all our athletes and Chef de Mission for their focus, determination and tireless efforts which have resulted in thorough preparation and impressive performances with new national records set in all three disciplines by Chantel, Kyron and Elinah in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Games. We are sad that Eldred will not be joining the team in person but intend to include him in our reports from Tokyo 2020. We are extremely proud of all our athletes have achieved thus far and will be in Japan to give our support and to watch them perform at the 32nd Olympiad.”

The delegation to Tokyo will include BVIOC President Mr. Ephraim Penn, Secretary General Mr. Lloyd Black, athlete coaches Mr. Lennox Graham (McMaster), Mr. Dwight Phillipe (Malone), Mr. Brien Moffitt (Phillip) and Mr. Winston Potter (team coach). Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley MHA, Deputy Premier, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture is also slated to attend the Games pending travel restrictions.

“I want to congratulate these hardworking individuals for this momentous achievement. It is even more exciting knowing that we have athletes, through their hard work, who are poised to compete for medal and I plan to be there to cheer them along waving our Virgin Islands flag. I wish all our athletes well; we are extremely proud of you!” said the Dr. The Honourable Minister Wheatley.

Daily updates will be posted on the BVIOC social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and reports will be disseminated to media from the BVIOC PRO, Sofia Fay, Broadsword Communications, who will be in Tokyo to cover the VI’s athletes.

Shot putter Eldred Henry steps out of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games due to elbow injury


Official Joint Statements Eldred Henry, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Olympic Committee

BVI shot putter Eldred Henry at the Doha 2019 World Athletics Championships. Photo credit: CM Farrington Photography

On Monday, June 28, 2021 national shot put champion and Olympian, Eldred Henry communicated with the BVI Athletics Association President, Mr. Steve Augustine to advise that, due to the recovery process from an injury in his right elbow, he would not be competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer.

“It is with deep sadness that I have had to make the tough call not to compete in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan this summer. The injury in the elbow of my throwing arm is one that has been an underlying issue for a few months but which was being treated and kept at bay through my pre-COVID-19 training regime which allowed me to compete at the beginning of this season. Unfortunately, the injury flared up during my warmup at the 2021 Track Meet on May 15 in South California and required further investigation including an MRI.

“The treatment and full recovery process requires more time than is left for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and after consultation with my coach Tony Dougherty and doctors working on the treatment, I conferred with the BVIAA and BVI Olympic Committee and it was agreed that I would not compete in Japan and risk putting my athletic career in jeopardy. Instead I will concentrate on making a full and proper recovery to regain my optimal performance level for the future Games coming up in 2022 and leading up to Paris 2024. I am grateful for all the support I receive from both the BVIAA and the BVIOC and feel frustrated and disappointed not to be able to represent my country at the Olympics this year. I will be in daily contact with the athletes attending Tokyo 2020 and look forward to supporting the team all the way,” said Henry.

In his consultation with President Augustine, Henry explained that while the treatment is working, the recovery is still ongoing and that the technical functionality is not fully restored. While willing to compete if that was the consensus of the BVIAA and the BVIOC, it was clear that if Henry was to proceed with participating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the restrictions of the injury would impede his ability to throw at his best distances and he would risk further damage to his elbow and hand.

“Eldred Henry is clearly one of our leading athletes and I was very sorry to learn that the extent of his injuries will now take him off the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Our primary sympathies are with Eldred whose training and focus were geared towards the ultimate competition at these rescheduled Olympics. We know that in the best of conditions he would have done us proud and are in complete agreement that he should not compete while recovering from an injury that will directly affect his performance and possibly his future athletic career. We understand that the intensive treatment programme Eldred is undergoing is designed to deliver a solid result and we wish him all the best on his road to recovery and training to get him back on track for the upcoming competitions including the World Championships in Oregon, USA in July 2022 Oregon,” said Augustine.

In a letter dated June 28, 2021, the BVIAA officially notified the BVIOC that Henry would no longer be in the team of track and field athletes going to Tokyo 2020 this summer.

“The BVIOC and the Chef de Mission, Mrs. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, as Team BVI’s Olympic family are very empathetic to Eldred’s situation and understand the frustration and disappointment that comes with making the final decision not to compete at an Olympic Games. Eldred has trained hard under challenging conditions. He told us that he was feeling at his peak in February 2020 and had been ready to impress in the summer of 2020. The pandemic had interrupted his training schedule and his competition level preparations and just as he was getting back on track, the latent injury put a stop to his programme.

“Eldred has impressed us with his resilience and dedication to his sport and his desire to represent his country with pride. He remains our top shot put athlete and we are proud of all that he has achieved thus far and know there is more to come under the continued training and guidance of his long-time coach, Anthony Dougherty. We will continue to support Eldred during his recovery period and his future focus on preparations for the upcoming major competitions including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 2022 CACs, Santiago 2023 Panam Games and Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

Henry was the first of the VI’s athletes to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when he threw the shot put a distance of 21.47m.(70′ 5 1/4 “) at the Kingsville, Texas meet in 2019 to also secure the outdoor national, OECS, GMAC and NCAA DII records with his personal best throw. He also holds the indoor shot put national, OECS and NCAA DII records with a throw of 20.61m (60′ 7.5”). He is a CAC bronze medalist. His highest world men’s shot put ranking is #20 and is ranked #6 in the region.

Tokyo 2020 would have been Henry’s second Olympics with his first appearance at the Rio 2016 Games.

Olympic Day June 23, 2021 – #StrongerTogether

In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. Photo: BVIOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today launches “Stronger Together”, a global Olympic campaign that celebrates athletes by showcasing their journey to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and how they kept moving even when the world around them stopped. The story celebrates their strength, resilience and determination to bring hope, unity and inspiration to people around the world.

Timed to launch ahead of Olympic Day (23 June), the story features world-renowned athletes, including past and present Olympians Usain Bolt, Naomi Osaka, Andre De Grasse, Yusra Mardini and Nyjah Houston. Tony Hawk is also present, representing the skateboarding community as they enter their first-ever Games.

It focuses on a people-centric message of Stronger Together, emphasising the IOC’s message of solidarity and the belief that the world moves forward only when it moves together, and the irresistible power of the Olympic Games to unite people, communities and societies across the globe.

The film can be watched here.

The #StrongerTogether campaign has been designed to unite people around the world while building excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Online fan engagement

On 23 June, a number of activities will take place on the IOC’s digital platforms to celebrate Olympic Day. People around the world will be able to connect, chat and get inspired by some of the world’s best athletes, including through a dedicated Olympic Day yoga session with Christy Prior, live chats with Usain Bolt and Japanese surfer Kanoa Igarashi, plus workout sessions and a Q&A with tennis star Venus Williams, to name just a few of the activities. These will focus on both physical and mental strength, and will include workouts as well as advice on mindfulness and well-being.

Olympic Day around the world

Some 110 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) around the world are also planning to encourage people to get active on Olympic Day. In-person activities around the world held where the situation permits, include Olympic Day runs, outdoor games for families, introductions to new sports, meetings with Olympians and workshops on the Olympic values. Digital initiatives, such as virtual Olympic challenges, online workouts, virtual live chats with Olympians, online quizzes and webinars on the Olympic values, will also be organised by NOCs. In the British Virgin Islands, in-person Olympic Day runs were hosted on Saturday, June 19 on the islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke and on Sunday, June 27, the BVI Olympic Committee will host the Territory’s first BVI Beach Games with sporting activities for all ages and abilities hosted by the National Federations for rugby, sailing, volleyball and football encouraging people to experience the Olympic Day message to Move, Learn and Discover”.

Olympic Virtual Series

The finals of the first-ever Olympic Virtual Series, the Olympic-licensed event for physical and non-physical virtual sports, will be broadcast live on olympics.com on 23 June.

Virtual sports fans can choose if they want to watch the Main Olympic Live Broadcast or specific disciplines. The sports featured are: baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and motor sport.

“Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run

On 23 June, the “Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run, organised by the City of Lausanne (Switzerland), where the IOC is headquartered, will be held digitally for the first time.

The organisers have devised a route of around 7km along the shores of Lake Geneva to discover some iconic places linked to Olympism and sport in Lausanne. Along the route, various personalities will provide comments and encouragement, including the IOC President, who will launch the run. You can take part here.

IOC President Bach: “Let’s celebrate the precious Olympic spirit”

“In this extraordinary Olympic year, celebrating Olympic Day is even more special than usual,” said the IOC President, Thomas Bach. “On this Olympic Day, when the entire world has been facing the same struggles and fears because of the global coronavirus pandemic for far too long, the power of sport to bring hope and optimism takes on an even greater significance. Solidarity, hope and optimism – this is what the power of sport is all about. This is why on this Olympic Day, let us stand together to celebrate the precious Olympic spirit,” he continued.

Olympic Day celebrates the revival of the Olympic Games

The idea of celebrating an Olympic Day was adopted at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The chosen date celebrates the founding of the IOC at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin revived the Olympic Games.

The first Olympic Day was celebrated that same year on 23 June 1948 and, 30 years later, in the 1978 edition of the Olympic Charter, the IOC recommended that all NOCs organise an Olympic Day to promote the Olympic Movement.

Over the last 20 years, Olympic Day has been associated with Olympic Day runs all over the world. First launched in 1987, the runs were about encouraging all NOCs to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport.

More information about Olympic Day can be found here.

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.