Reich and Chapman open for Team BVI at Birmingham 2022. 3×3 Basketball to debut at Commonwealth Games

Squash player Luca Reich opened BVI’s competitions at Birmingham 2022 with his Commonwealth Games debut today, July 29, which also is his 19th birthday.

Reich pushed his game up a level as he fought for points against Emyr Evans representing Wales and came off the squash court at the University of Birmingham venue satisfied with winning some points against the PSA world ranked 93 player for a match result of 11-1, 11-3, 11-0 to Evans.

Later that same evening, Joe Chapman played his first match of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games competing against Abhay Singh of India.

Following 3 fast-paced games, where each player made use of all corners of the court, Chapman conceded the match to Singh in 3 games 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Chapman, who felt the two of them were well-matched, was satisfied with his performance in the preliminaries. 

Both Reich and Chapman play again in the Plate Men’s Singles Round of 32 on Sunday, July 31.

The historic 3×3 basketball team will debut at Birmingham 2022 as the first basketball team to represent the territory at the Commonwealth Games in what will be tough matches against more experienced and established teams from large countries. 

Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith and Mahkayla Pickering are set to face Canada and England on Saturday, July 30 when they compete in Group B at 3:55pm (10:55am BVI time) and 9:35pm (4:35pm BVI time) respectively. Matches will be played at a temporary arena which has been constructed at the Smithfield site in the centre of Birmingham.

The players have been acclimating and have already met their Canadian opponents since their arrival at the Friendly Games.

“It’s been an eye-opening but good experience for all the athletes who are new to competing at major Games,” said Mark Chapman, Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. “The team has come together and has settled quickly and smoothly into a routine  at the Athletes’ Village, adapting to the time difference and making sure they get their practice sessions in. Everyone is looking forward to the arrival of the other athletes over the course of the weekend to compete the team.”

Track and field athletes, Kyron McMaster, the defending 400m hurdles Commonwealth Games champion, Eldred Henry (shot put), and Deya Erickson (100m hurdles) along with cyclists Darel Christopher Jr and Sam Talbot are due into Birmingham in the next two days.

“I have spent some time with the team, been to watch some of the squash and the basketball practice session, and have seen Ashley Kelly in action as the Athlete Representative for the Caribbean region of the Commonwealth Games Federation and can say that all our athletes are doing us proud with their ambassadorial behavior,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association. “This is a great opportunity for our up and coming athletes to get their feet wet as part of the process of developing into serious competitors on the international stage and they all seem to be taking advantage of it. We look forward to watching and supporting them in their competitions.”

Track and field competitions start on August  2 and the cyclists compete in their first event – time trial – on August 4.

Birmingham 2022 is the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with 11 days of sports comprising 286 sessions, covering 19 sports in which athletes from 72 nations will compete for championship titles. 

Beyoncé Defreitas and Rikkoi Brathwaite flag bearers at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

Athletes Beyoncé Defreitas (200m) and Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m) are the female and male flag bearers for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony,  which take place in the Alexander Stadium – the venue for the track and field events. This is the first time either athlete has served as a flag bearer for a major Games.

Walking in the parade of athletes alongside the flag bearers is the BVI delegation including squash players Joe Chapman and Luca Reich with Coach Adam Murrills, 3×3 basketball players Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith, Mahkayla Pickering and Coach Eric Matthias and track and field athletes including Adriano Gumbs (400m), Tynelle Gumbs (hammer throw), Trevia Gumbs (shot put) and Djimon Gumbs (discus, shot put) and also physiotherapist Thomas Jeppesen.

The opening ceremonial wear for the BVI delegates attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a duo team effort and collaboration by Ms. Kristin Frazer of Trèfle Designs and Mrs Markita Smith of Menen I Designs. Markita Smith was the official designer of the apparel for both the men and women while Kristin contributed one of her newest prints and textile for the delegates to enjoy. 

“The idea of simplicity in design paired with a bold print capturing the turquoise waters of the BVI combined very well,” said Ms. Frazer. “To complete the look, I added clean waterproof neoprene espadrilles for everyone from NY based company Seastar Beachwear. 

“The entire project from start to finish was beautiful to see and working with the Chef de Mission Mark Chapman and the delegates was a delight! I am happy to have included Markita on this journey as a rising Fashion Designer and I look forward to contributing more to my community in highlighting our natural talents and skills that is right here in the BVI,” added Ms. Frazer.

The local production team that made the skirts and shirts included Clover’s Sewing & Craft along with Quami’s Sewing Services.

Athletes settle in at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Premier pays visit to the Village

Premier Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, accompanied by Mrs. Tracey Bradshaw, Director, BVI London Office, were welcomed to the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham by Chef de Mission, Mark Chapman and President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association Ephraim Penn on Wednesday, July 27.

Thirteen of the expected 18 athletes, along with members of the BVI delegation to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have arrived in the UK ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, July 28. 

Settling into the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham are squash players in the Men’s singles and doubles, Joe Chapman and Luca Reich along with Coach Adam Murrills, the 3×3 basketball team comprising Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith, Mahkayla Pickering and Coach Eric Matthias and contingents of the track and field team including Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m), Beyoncé Defreitas (200m), Adriano Gumbs (400m) the two sets of Gumbs twins, sisters Tynelle (hammer throw) and Trevia (shot put) and their brothers, Djimon (discus, shot put) and Diamanté (discus). Physiotherapist Thomas Jeppesen and Team Manager, Ralston Henry are also at the Village.

Arriving later this week will be the remaining track and field athletes including gold medalist and 400m hurdles defending champion, Kyron McMaster, Eldred Henry (shot put) and Deya Erickson (100m hurdles) along with Coaches Lennox Graham, Joey Scott. Time trial and road race cyclists Darel Christopher Jr and Sam Talbot and Coach Paul Cullimore will also arrive on Saturday.

Premier Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, accompanied by Mrs. Tracey Bradshaw, Director, BVI London Office, were welcomed to the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham by Chef de Mission, Mark Chapman and President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association, Ephraim Penn on Wednesday, July 27. The Premier shared words of encouragement with the athletes before joining the team for dinner at the Village.

The squash Men’s singles Preliminary Round of 64, which takes place tomorrow, Friday, July 29 will be the first event for the BVI when Reich plays against Emyr Evans of Wales at 12:00pm local time (7:00am BVI time) and Chapman plays against Abhay Singh of India at 7.15pm UK time (2:15pm BVI time).  The 3×3 basketball team will then face Canada in the Group Match on Saturday, July 30. The competition schedule for the BVI will be shared following the technical meetings. 

Birmingham 2022 is the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with 11 days of sports comprising 286 sessions, covering 19 sports in which athletes from 72 nations will compete for championship titles. 
Updates on the team will be posted on the BVIOC Facebook and Instagram accounts and you can watch the action on SportsMax

Team BVI returns with silver and bronze medals from inaugural Caribbean Games

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, July 6, 2022 – The Virgin Islands (UK) delegation returned after securing 2 podium finishes at the inaugural Caribbean Games which were held June 27 – July 3, 2022, in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Djimon Gumbs won a silver medal in the men’s shot put with a throw of 17.99m (59’02”). The men’s 4x100m team comprising Vadley Sylvester Jr, Mikkel Bassue, Ke’Andre Campbell and Malik John won the bronze with a time of 42.24.

The Games were attended by 29 countries from the Caribbean. The VI took part in two of the seven sports: 3X3 basketball (women) and track & field.

“Congratulations to our medalists and on behalf of the BVI Olympic Committee, I thank the athletes and coaches for their participation and efforts at the Caribbean Games,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are pleased to have provided the majority of the athletes on the team an opportunity to compete in their first major Games. These Games are the next level up from the Carifta and the youth Games and provide a useful yardstick for the standard of competition the athletes can expect to face as they continue to chart their progression in their chosen sport.”

It was an historic occasion for the VI’s women basketball team competing for the first time in a 3×3 tournament and also at a major Games took part. The basketball team played three (3) games against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe.

“Although the 3×3 team was defeated at the Caribbean Games, they were very competitive and played extremely well considering it was the first of such a tournament for the women. The exposure was at a very high level which now prepares the team for the Commonwealth Games,” said Ralston Henry, Chef de Mission, Guadeloupe 2022.

Track and field entered athletes in the 100m (male and female), 400m (men), long jump (women), triple jump (women), shot put (men), javelin (women), 110h (men) and 4x100m (men).

Events and Results
Track and field
• Djimon Gumbs (Shot Put), 2nd
• Diamante Gumbs (Shot Put), 6th
• Vadley Jr. Sylvester (400m – DNF, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Malik John (400m – 13th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Mikkel Bassue (100m – 8th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Ke’Andre Campbell (100m – 11th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Malik Romney (110mh – 4th)
• Beyonce Defreitas (100m – 11th)
• Arianna Hayde (Long Jump – 6th, Javelin – DNF, Triple Jump – sole competitor)
• Xiomara Malone (Long Jump – 5th)
Coaches: Ericca Fredrick and Eric Matthias J

3×3 Basketball
Team: Shauliqua Fahie, Jolene Bowens, Keithrece Smith, Kiara Woodley.
Coach: Joy Victor

BVI Vs Dominican Republic 12-15
BVI Vs Puerto Rico 4-21
BVI Vs Guadeloupe 12-16

Beyonce de Freitas was the flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony. The team was attended to by physiotherapist Chester Levi James.

Fun, movement, learning and discovery at 3rd annual Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day

Saturday, June 25 saw children and adults join the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) and member National Federations in the 3rd annual Sports Festival promoting the Olympic Day Movement at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds and Virgin Gorda on June 25.

“This year, Olympic Day set out to inspire people to get active and move together with purpose and we feel that the annual Sports Festival is an ideal way to bring the community out, discover a sport, learn about anti-doping and about making changes for a healthier lifestyle and hopefully forge new friendships,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

National Federations including the Virgin Islands Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Basketball Federation, BVI Football Association, Virgin Islands Softball/Baseball Association, Boynes Taekwondo and Volleyball took part in the interactive event.

Special appearances included His Excellency the Governor Mr. John Rankin, softball athlete Mr. Kennard Dawson, former pro volleyball player Ms. Sharonda Pickering and the National Women’s 3×3 Basketball team players, Ms. Joy Victor, Ms. Shaliqua Fahie, Ms. Kiara Woodley, Ms. Jolene Bowens and Ms. Keithrece Smith. The 3×3 basketball team will be participating at the inaugural Caribbean Games this week in Guadeloupe and also will make up the historic team to represent the BVI at basketball at the Commonwealth Games for the first time this summer in Birmingham, UK.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool representing the BVI National Anti-Doping Organisation was in attendance and spoke with athletes, coaches and parents on the relevance of the anti-doping regulations in athletes’ lives and in playing clean sports.

The BVI Public Health Promotions Unit represented by Ms. Sophia Brewely-Massiah, Ms. Harmonie Massiah, Ms. Patrice Maduro was a popular addition to this year’s event where people took part in a hands-on presentation to receive a personalised recommendation on creating balanced meals based on current level of activity and eating habits. The team also helped individuals to interpret and understand their body measurements and how to set realistic goals with a balance of food and exercise.

His Excellency Governor John Rankin shared words of encouragement and took part in some of the activities including the BVIAA obstacle course and Archery’s practice drill.

“I’m all in support of events and sports that will get our community active, no matter the age or ability and I’m very pleased to have had a go. If I can do it, so can you!” said H.E. Governor Rankin.

“I play basketball but I tried some of the other sports today and really enjoyed them,” said 6th grader Antoine Reilly. “I’m glad I came out. I had to ask my Dad to come back for me later than planned as I was having so much fun!”

In the Multipurpose complex a new basketball recruit was pitching her skills against the national squad. “I’m a softball player but now that the Industrial League has drawn to a close, I was looking to try another sport just to stay active. I’m an NBA fan and watch the games on TV so I decided to actually play the sport and, just a week in, I can say I’m really enjoying it,” said Ms. Shah.

“Thank you to all the National Federations who participated, to those who came out in support and to our drink sponsor Road Town Wholesale, distributor of Coca-Cola products Dasani water and Powerade for making this a fun event,” said Mr. Penn.

During the Sports Festival weekend, three National Federations hosted events. The BVI Squash Rackets Association hosted the highest caliber Professional Squash Association international tournament of the territory to date, BVI Rugby Football Union hosted a junior rugby game followed by a Senior 15s match while the BVI Cycling Federation conducted its UCI sanctioned National Time Trial and Road Race events.

Olympic Day was established in 1948 as an annual occasion where everyone everywhere can get together in their communities to celebrate the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence, Friendship and Peace while celebrating the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.

See more photos on Facebook: https://bit.ly/sportsfestival2022

BVIOC announces team for inaugural Caribbean Games

BVIOC announces the BVI team for the inaugural Caribbean Games to be held June 29 – July 3, 2022 in Guadeloupe. The Team includes 11 track and field athletes and 4 basketball players. (L-R front row): Steve Augustine, President, BVI Athletics Association, Ralston Henry, Chef de Mission, Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC, Honourable Sharie de Castro, Minister for Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, Lloyd Black, Secretary General, BVIOC. (L-R back row) Chester Levi James, Physio, Beyonce Defreitas (100, 4×100), Shauliqua Fahie (3×3), Joy Victor, 3×3 basketball Coach, Djimon Gumbs (shot put), Malik Romney (110 hurdles), Malik John (400, 4×100), Diamante Gumbs (shot put), Arianna Hayde (long jump, triple jump, javelin, 4×100), Mikkel Bassue (100, 4×100), Kiara Woodley (3×3). Absent Jolene Bowens (3×3), Keithrece Smith (3×3), Xiomara Malone (long jump, 4×100), Ke’Andrae Campbell (100, 4×100), Zara Brown (100, 4×100) and Vadley Sylvester JR (400, 4×100). PHOTO CREDIT: CM Farrington

The BVI Olympic Committee announced the team of 15 athletes that will be representing the BVI at the inaugural Caribbean Games which are scheduled to take place in Guadeloupe from June 29 to July 3, 2022.

The athletes who will compete in the regional U23 Games were introduced by the Chef De Mission Ralston Henry at a press conference held on June 21 at the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The 11 track and field athletes include Ke’Andrae Campbell (100, 4×100), Malik Romney (110 hurdles), Diamante Gumbs (shot put), Djimon Gumbs (shot put), Malik John (400, 4×100), Beyonce Defreitas (100, 4×100), Zara Brown (100, 4×100), Arianna Hayde (long jump, triple jump, javelin, 4×100), Xiomara Malone (long jump, 4×100), Mikkel Bassue (100, 4×100) and Vadley Sylvester JR (400, 4×100). They will be accompanied by coaches Ericca Fredrick and Eric Matthias J and physiotherapist Chester James.

The 3×3 basketball team comprises Kiara Woodley, Shauliqua Fahie, Jolene Bowens and Keithrece Smith. They will be accompanied by Coach Joy Victor.

Beyonce de Freitas will be the flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony which kicks off the Games at 7:00pm on Thursday, June 29.

“We are very excited to be sending a competitive team of track and field athletes as well as our historic 3×3 Women’s Basketball team, who are the first set of female athletes to be representing the territory in the sport in a regional event,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “Beyonce de Freitas and Djimon Gumbs returned as medalists from the the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017. They did us proud then so we have high expectations that we may hear the Territorial Song for the first time at a major Games on this occasion.”

Honourable Sharie De Castro, Minister for Education, Culture and Youth Affairs shared remarks on the occasion. “It’s a great feeling when we send our athletes as ambassadors to the region and the world to celebrate and to show their Virgin Islands pride,” said Honourable de Castro. “We know, and are appreciative of, the hard work that it takes to prepare for Games such as these we want to put the full force of our population behind you in cheering you on and supporting you. On behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands, we offer our full support behind Team BVI.”

The Minister went on to thank the BVIOC, the National Federations and the DYAS for the continued initiatives – the funding and the development that allow the athletes to continue to thrive.

29 countries will be represented by approximately 800 athletes and 200 officials competing in 7 disciplines.

The 7 sports include Athletics, Basketball 3×3, Cycling, Futsal, Judo, Netball and Swimming. The BVI will be represented in Athletics and Basketball 3×3.

The Chef de Mission will depart for Guadeloupe on June 25 ahead of the athletes, coaches and President of the BVIOC who will leave for the Caribbean Games on June 27.

The Closing Ceremony will be at 7:00pm on Sunday, July 3. The Games can be followed live on Panam Sports Channel.

Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community in the BVI – Full Report

On May 3 and 4, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the Commonwealth Games Association (BVICGA) hosted the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the Virgin Islands (UK). The Queen’s Baton toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda heralding the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The Queen’s Baton arrived from Dominica into the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Monday, May 2 and was presented by Ms. Korlita Hamilton of the Dominica CGA to Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA.

The Welcome and Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, May 3 at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Games officially marked the start of Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI with remarks by His Excellency Governor John Rankin, the Honourable Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Penn, and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player.

The ceremony started with the Althea Scatliffe Striders Drum Corps and the entrance of the Queen’s Baton brought in by past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman. It was followed by a programme of recitals and performances of cultural and heritage significance curated by Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of the Department of Culture and presented by Poet Laureate Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC; author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Birmingham 2022 QBR Creative Programme Awardee; Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, Operations Manager, Virgin Islands Search & Rescue; the Comfoo Dance Ensemble; Leonora Delville Primary School; and the Razor Blades.

The relay through Road Town was started by the BVI Athletics Association Carifta 2022 athletes and Honourable Kye Rymer, District 5 Representative. The route followed a heritage trail and Baton handover stops starting from the Sugarworks Museum (Batonbearer D’Nila Thomas, student Althea Scatliffe Primary School), to the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens (Batonbearer Ms. Vanessa King, O’Neal Webster), to the Sunday Morning Well (Batonbearer Mr. David Thomas, Clarence Thomas Ltd), to the E. Walwyn Brewley Ball Park (Batonbearers V I Softball Baseball Association), to the Elmore Stoutt High School (Batonbearer Jelani Croal, Grade 12, ESHS) to H.M. Prison Museum (Batonbearer Mr. Matthew Cowman, Walkers (BVI) Limited), to Midtown Restaurant (Batonbearers Caribbean Insurance Ltd), to the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park (Batonbearers representatives of the BVI Bank Association), to the Waterfront Drive traffic lights (Batonbearers Coralisle Group), to Sir Olva Georges Plaza (Batonbearers Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd) to the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly (Batonbearer, Mrs. Vicki Francis, Governor’s Office) to the Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the heritage and museum sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School where it was met with vigorous enthusiasm by the students, staff and faculty. The relay to the Manuel Reef Marina was led by Batonbearers Honourable Julian Fraser, District 3 Representative, Mr. Milton McClean, Youth Sports leader, and Jehu Adams, Grade 6, ETPS. Adams handed the Baton over to Royal BVI Yacht Club sailing federation youth sailor, William Sanders and Mr. Jamel Davies, Chairman of the Tortola Sloop Foundation who sailed the Baton to the beach at Nanny Cay where it was handed over to Mr. Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

The afternoon visit included a stop at Carrot Bay to recognise the Stoutt family of fishermen – father Albert and sons Zacchari and Andrew – who continue to supply the local community and restaurants with fish and lobster caught in the traditional and sustainable way of seine and line fishing and free diving.

The Queen’s Baton was then welcomed at the Leonora Delville Primary School joined by student and teacher representation from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School and celebrated with dance and a symbolic relay around the school field with Batonbearers Frank Chinnery (JVDPS).

Day 1 of the relay concluded with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where the pit owner, Mr. Palett explained the process for preparing, generating and harvesting charcoal in the traditional way.

An evening reception hosted by the Governor was attended by the Carifta 2022 athletes, Commonwealth Games athletes and representatives of the National Federations.

The second and final day of the Queen’s Baton Relay saw the Queen’s Baton and accompanying delegation transported to Virgin Gorda courtesy of the Royal Virgin Islands Marine Police and H.M. Customs. The visit included a warm welcome reception organised by the Primary and Secondary schools of the Bregado Flax Education Center with remarks by Secondary Principal Hilroy George, Honourable Shereen Flax-Charles, Honourable Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative, and Mr. Penn. Presentations were performed by the Woodwind Ensemble, the BEFC Trio and the BFEC Lions and Arabians Cheerleaders.

A visit to the school’s Edible Garden of the Green Sprouts Eco Club managed by Green and Clean VI was followed by a relay led by Batonbearers, brothers Mekhi Water (Grade 12) and Audony Gangoo (Grade 5) from the school to the Green VI Eco Park where all guests were given a tour and overview of the work undertaken at the site by Green VI in association with Green VI Bug Out and which speak to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The penultimate leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay took a route through East End and Long Look with heritage sites and handover stops starting at the Chapel Hill Methodist Church with a brief history shared by Dr. Lavon Chalwell-Brewely before Batonbearer Dean Greenaway led the relay to Penn’s Landing handing over to Honourable Marlon Penn, District 8 Representative.

From there the Queen’s Baton was run to the Willard Wheatley Primary School (Batonbearer Jacobi David) to the East End Police Station (Batonbearer Mrs. Sylvia Forbes) to the Francis Lettsome Primary School (Batonbearer Damir Dobson) to the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett where Batonbearer Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye, Director Department of Youth Affairs and Sports led the relay to the Long Look Tennis and Education Center to hand over to the youth and senior Cycling Federation members who cycled the Queen’s Baton to the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College via YEP.

At the HLSCC, the Baton was handed over to Ms. Winnette Lawrence of the V I Archery Association who passed it on to Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC who handed over to the HLSCC Volleyball team. The Baton was then jogged across to the Maritime Museum by students of the Marine Studies before a handover to Phillipe Leroy, representing the BVI Triathlon Federation, who, followed by others, cycled the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of the relay which culminated at Brandywine Bay beach.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close when members of the BVI Rugby Federation received the Baton followed by handovers to the BVI Football Association and the VI Volleyball Association. Each of the three National Federations showcased their sports in demo games on the beach with a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt ending the sports before closing remarks by Mr. Penn, President of the BVICGA. The grand finale was a cultural presentation speaking to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections. Attendees were entertained and educated by songs, dances and story-telling performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The key stakeholders involved in the planning and hosting of events included the Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Departments of Culture, Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the BVI Tourist Board.

Event sponsors include the BVI Banking Association – Banco Popular, Bank of Asia, CIBC FirstCaribbean, FirstBank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Republic Bank, and VP Bank – Caribbean Insurance Ltd, Clarence Thomas Ltd, Coralisle Insurance (BVI) Ltd, O’Neal Webster, Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, Walkers, Harneys and JOMA Properties.

National Federations, schools, and community and social groups supported the event as volunteers and participants in the relays through the districts.

The BVICGA has hosted four Queen’s Baton Relays since 2005, the last one being in 2017 ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Kyron McMaster made history by winning the territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal with a gold in the 400m hurdles.

The VI is expecting to take its largest contingent yet to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 19 athletes representing the territory in 5 sports – a first for the nation. 3×3 Basketball (Women’s Team) and Cycling will make their debut at a Commonwealth Games as the teams join athletes from track and field, squash and swimming.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay touring through 72 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories will cover a distance of 140,000 kilometres over 269 days, traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, before embarking on the final stretch of its journey across England for 25 days.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will complete its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022. This is a traditional and fundamental part of the Games and the Opening Ceremony, as the final Batonbearer will pass the Baton back to The Queen. The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth will then be removed from the Baton and read aloud, marking the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Photos of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay touring the BVI can be seen on the BVIOC’s Facebook page.

Student Batonbearers:

Althea Scatliffe School (ASPS), Road Town, Tortola
D’Niya Thomas (Handover at the Sugarworks Museum, Day 1)
D’Niya has represented for several years for Inter-Primary Spors. She has been the Victrix for Inter-House and Inter-Primary as well.

Elmore Stoutt High School, Road Town, Tortola (Day 1)
Jelani Croal
– Grade 12
Jelani was chosen because he is one of ESHS’ top athletes during the Inter-House competition and who went on to do very well at Carifta 2022

Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Jehu Adams
– Grade 6
Jehu is a hard-working, dedicated, disciplined and helpful young man who is the top Grade Six student for the Advent and Trinity terms of the 2021-2022 school year. Along with his classmates, he is actively involved in the process of planting and maintaining the crops in the school’s garden. He is also very much involved in anything that would enhance the lives of his classmate. Jehu is often involved in peer tutoring within the classroom. He has specifically been assigned to assist and mentor one of the ESL students. He assists him with in-class tasks, projects and homework whenever necessary.
Additionally, during the Lent term, Grade Six had started a recycling project. Jehu was actively involved in collecting, sorting and recording the data for the materials. He along with another student took the materials to the school’s recycling bins.
Jehu has proudly and effectively represented his school at various competitions and other extracurricular activities. Presently, he and another student are preparing to represent the school at the national spelling bee competition. Jehu’s self-less attitude and commitment to learning are admirable and examples to his peers.

Leonora Delville Primary School, Capoon’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Mijael Jennings
(LDPS)
Kh’mahni Anthony (LDPS)
Frank Chinnery (Jost Van Dyke Primary School) – selected because he is an excellent athlete and the perfect representative for an event such as the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Bregado Flax Education Center, Virgin Gorda (Day 2)
BFEC Senior Division
Mekhi Water – Senior – Class of 2022
Mekhi is an all-round athlete excelling in Volleyball (BFEC) who also is the Football national U20 goalkeeper and of the VG United football club. He also is a Track and Field division winner. He is a diligent and committed student of the BFEC Senior School.

BFEC Primary Division
Audony Gangoo – Grade 5
Audony is one who we call a true Lion Ambassador. He puts his best foot forward in whatever he does. He is from a single parent home with 4 other siblings. This does not deter him from excelling in school, in sports and being one of our school ambassadors. Audony recently participated in the Inter-Primary Sports and ran in the 13+ category. Despite being pushed up to the older level, he persevered and came 2nd and 3rd in his races. He was determined to do his very best.

Currently, he is one of the top students in Grade 5, and he ensures that he continues is a positive influence for his peers.

Willard Wheatley Primary School, East End, Tortola (Day 2)
Jacobi David
– Grade 6
Jacobi has grown into a positive student. He is a good athlete and displays good sportsmanship. He continues to represent the school well in sports and never refuses when he is asked to do something. He is a team player and as this is his final year at WWPS, we feel he deserves the honour of carrying the Baton.

Francis Lettsome Primary School, Greenland, Tortola (Day 2)
Damir Dobson
– Grade 6
Damir is an enthusiastic 13-year-old, who excels in sports as one of his extracurricular endeavours. Damir is son to Earle Dobson and Glasmie Williamson. He represents his school at sporting events, and has been a top athlete, and proud Wildcat of FLPS, in Greenland, Tortola. Damir is the Francis Lettsome Primary School Wildcats’ 2022 Queen’s Relay Baton Bearer, because of his keen spirit, respectfulness, dedication to learning, willingness to help, community service, and pride in representing his school.

Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the Commonwealth Games Association (BVICGA) hosted the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the Virgin Islands (UK) on Tuesday, May 3 and Wednesday, May 4.

The two-day event brought a perceptible positive energy at a time of political uncertainty in the territory. With a focus on celebrating culture, untold stories, heritage and traditions as well as the road to a sustainable-lifestyle future, the BVICGA worked closely with the Department of Culture and the Department of Education, Green VI and members of the community to deliver an engaging and elevating Queen’s Baton Relay as it toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

“The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI delivered a most unexpected and welcome relief from troubled times during the two days that it toured our territory,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President pf the BVICGA. “The high energy and enthusiasm with which the Queen’s Baton was received by all who participated in the events were uplifting and encouraging as, once again, we see the power of sports in bringing the community together in shared hope. This did not go unnoticed by the Birmingham 2022 Global QBR organisers in the UK who shared with us that this was one of their favourite Queen’s Baton Relays!”

The Queen’s Baton arrived into the territory from Dominica on May 2 ahead of the official welcome and opening ceremony at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on May 3 when the Baton made its entrance in the hands of some of the BVI’s past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman.

Remarks by H.E. Governor John Rankin, Premier Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player, were part of a programme featuring recitals and performances of cultural and heritage significance curated by Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of the Department of Culture and presented by Poet Laureate Dr. Richard Georges, author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, Leonora Delville Primary School, and the Razor Blades.

The relay legs through Road Town included heritage and museum sites such as the Sugarworks Museum, J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens, the Sunday Morning Well, H.M. Prison Museum, Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, Sir Olva Georges Plaza and Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay from where it was run to Manuel Reef Marina and sailed aboard a Traditional Tortola Sloop and a Feva of the Royal BVI Yacht Club Sailing Federation youth racing fleet to the beach at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

An afternoon stop at Carrot Bay included a visit with the fishing family of Mr. Albert Stoutt and his sons Zacchari and Andrew, who continue to supply the local community and restaurants with fish and lobster caught in the traditional and sustainable way of seine and line fishing and free diving. All present were treated to an impromptu scratch band performance at the North Shore Shell Museum owned by Mr. Egbert “Shellman” Donovan.

The Queen’s Baton was welcomed by students, staff and faculty at the Leonora Delville Primary School and representatives from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School before the Day 1 relay ended with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where pit owner, Mr. Palett explained the process for preparing, generating and harvesting charcoal in the traditional way.

An evening reception hosted by the Governor was attended by the Carifta 2022 athletes, Commonwealth Games athletes and representatives of the National Federations.

On the morning of May 4, the Queen’s Baton and delegation arrived at the Bregado Flax Education Center in Virgin Gorda for a warm reception programme executed by the Primary and Secondary divisions with remarks by Principal Hilroy George, Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles, Representative at Large, and Hon. Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative and Mr. Penn.

A visit to the school’s Green Sprouts Edible Garden was followed by a relay to the Green VI Eco Park for a tour and overview of the work undertaken at the site by Green VI in association with Green VI Bug Out and which speak to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The afternoon leg through East End and Long Look included Baton handover spots at national heritage sites of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church, the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close with a sports showcase and a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt. The cultural finale entertained and educated through songs, dances and story-telling that spoke to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Valerie Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The next stop for the Queen’s Baton Relay was St Kitts and Nevis as it makes its way back to the UK for the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 28.

The key stakeholders involved in the planning and hosting of events included the Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Departments of Culture, Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the BVI Tourist Board.

Event sponsors include the BVI Banking Association – Banco Popular, Bank of Asia, CIBC FirstCaribbean, FirstBank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Republic Bank, and VP Bank – Caribbean Insurance Ltd, Clarence Thomas Ltd, Coralisle Insurance (BVI) Ltd, O’Neal Webster, Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, Walkers, Harneys and JOMA Properties.

National Federations, schools, and community and social groups supported the event as volunteers and participants in the relays through the districts.

The BVICGA has hosted four Queen’s Baton Relays since 2005, the last one being in 2017 ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Kyron McMaster made history by winning the territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal with a gold in the 400m hurdles.

The VI is expecting to take its largest contingent yet to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 19 athletes representing the territory in 5 sports – a first for the nation. 3×3 Basketball (Women’s Team) and Cycling will make their debut at a Commonwealth Games as the teams join athletes from track and field, squash and swimming.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay touring through 72 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories will cover a distance of 140,000 kilometres over 269 days, traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, before embarking on the final stretch of its journey across England for 25 days.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will complete its journey at the Opening Ceremony – a traditional and fundamental part of the Games as the final Batonbearer passes the Baton back to The Queen or her representative. The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth will then be removed from the Baton and read aloud, marking the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Read the full report.

Photos of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay touring the BVI can be seen on the BVIOC’s Facebook page.

Jaleel Croal runs sub 20 PB in Cali 2021 200m finals. 3×3 basketball team perform valiantly against top teams

Virgin Islands sprinter Jaleel Croal delivered a PB of 20.93 in the 200m finals at the Cali 2021 Junior Panam Games – his first major Games and season opener.

Pitching his speed against faster and older runners in the race, Jaleel did well to pull out all the stops to run sub 21 and place 5th. The new time smashes his previous PB of 21.10 achieved at the end of last  season.

“When I got on the track my main goal was to have fun and run a 21 so after a nice start and execution and finish and a 20.93 – even though I came 5th – I was the happiest man on the track at that moment. There’s more to come and I already marked the guys’ faces!” said Jaleel.

Speaking after the race, Coach Ralston “Grandfather” Henry said, “This is the peak time of season for the sprinters from Ecuador and Brazil and to see him come and run that fast with them is a major accomplishment!”

Jaleel already qualified for the World Athletics U20 Championships with his semi-finals time of 21.24 and he will be back at the same stadium for the event next August 1 – 6.

The medals in the Cali 2021 200m went to Anderson Marquinez (Ecuador, 20.51), Lucas Vilar (Brazil, 20.59) and Lucas Rodrigues Da Silva (Brazil,20.68).

Jaleel and Coach Grandfather return home to the BVI on Saturday, December 4.

The 3×3 basketball team comprising Shakeem Tyson, Michael Richardson, D’/Andre Mitchum and Stephano Paul played their final group game against Venezuela on December 3. The team gave everything they had and put up a much improved performance with contributions from all of them. While they ultimately lost 22-11 they remained very much in touch with their strong opposition until the halfway point when Venezuela showed their class and pulled away. Since that match, Venezuela went on to beat Puerto Rico (in their final group game) and then beat Brazil in the quarter finals. 

“After initially losing out 21-5 to Puerto Rico in their first match to only a day later be pushing Venezuela in a much closer affair shows how far the team has come in such a short amount of time,” said Chef de Mission Adam Murrills. “It also shows a strong mentality in their ability to problem-solve, adapt, work together and improve throughout what has been the BVI’s first International Competition for Basketball since 2010!

“Having spoken with the guys I know that they’re proud (and rightly so!) of how they performed and how they improved throughout the tournament and they’re keen to push on after this and hopefully experience more International Competition in the future!”

President Ephraim Penn who has attended the competitions from the start of the Games was impressed with the level of application and incremental improvement of all athletes and more so with the camaraderie and supportive attitude of the athletes from the different sports ensuring to attend the matches or watch live where physical attendance was not possible.

“The athletes and coaches all arrived as separate teams but as they leave these Games, they depart with a sense of one BVI team which is a very rewarding result in itself,” said President Penn.

“On behalf of the BVIOC, I congratulate Jaleel on setting a new PB coming off the blocks of the final at his first major Games. That he achieved this at the start of the season and racing against more experienced and older sprinters in the middle of their season is all them more exciting for what we can expect to see from him in 2022. Congratulations also to the 3×3 Basketball team who have done a remarkable job of holding their own in new territory. Thank you to the National Federations, their athletes and especially to their coaches, Ralston  “Grandfather” Henry, track and field coach and 2nd Vice President of the BVI Olympic Committee and to Coach West for Basketball for committing to and executing admirable performances at these inaugural Panam Junior Games.”

Thad Lettsome, who is based at Lake Calima with his coach, Chris Watters finished the 2nd day of the regatta with a 7th and 6th place for an overall 6thplace at the start of the final set of races in the one-person ILCA7 laser today, Saturday December 4. 

Coach Watters described the second day of competition as a “tough day”.

“It was cranking windy and we were closer to shore. The guys in 1st and 2nd place are in a race of their own; they have a good 15lbs on Thad. It’ll be a major focus for him moving forward. That and the downwind in heavy breeze flat water,” said Coach Watters. “He’s still not bad shape in the regatta. 6th overall but only 1 point from 5th. Bit of a gap to the medals but there’s some protests for 3/4 going on so we’re not out of it!”

The closing ceremony will take place on Sunday, December 5 after which the  3×3 team and BVI delegation will return home to the VI while Thad will return to Tulane University, New Orleans and Coach Watters to Florida.

Croal advances to semi-finals. Lettsome settles mid fleet on day 1 and 3×3 basketball compete in first two games of the Cali 2021 Junior Panam Games

Congratulations to Jaleel Croal who placed 3rd in his heat of the 200m semi-finals at the Cali 2021 inaugural Junior PanAm Games . His time of 21.24 secured a spot in the finals where he will run in lane 8 at 7:00pm on Friday December 3.

18-years old Jaleel came out of the race feeling positive about his time and performance. “Before the race I was nervous but I said to myself that the hard part is qualifying and the fun part is the finals. Once on the track I felt better and I felt good coming out of the blocks and overall felt the race was good. I am very happy about it and will be ready to give it my 100% in the finals.”

Coach Ralston “Grandfather” Henry also was happy with the race and performance saying, “It was a very good time with which to open the season at this time of the year. He ended the season with 21.10 so coming back with a 21.24 to start the season was very good. I’m looking forward to what we will see in the finals.”

Thad Lettsome closed out his first day of racing the ILCA7 laser with a 5th and 4th place finish out of a fleet of 14 which, according to Coach Chris Watters, is exactly where they planned to be. “Thad did a really good job starting, sailing smart and conservatively. We want to be in the middle of the hunt all the way through the end so we’re hoping for similar conditions tomorrow,” said Coach Watters.

“The first day of the regatta went well,” said Thad. “We’re looking to maintain a consistent score line and then perhaps look at being more aggressive and making a push after the first race as that would mark the half way point of the event.”

Thad will compete in 4 more races with 2 each on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4.

The BVI 3×3 basketball team competed in their first two matches of their first international Game where they lost out to Puerto Rico 5-21 in a shake up match. The 2nd match against Colombia went better for the team as they held the lead for the first part before finally conceding the game by 6 points for a 9-15 score. The team comprising Michael Richardson, Shakeem Tyson, Stephano Paul, D’Andre Mitchum and Coach Trevor “West” Stevens will face Venezuela at 11:30am BVI time on Friday, December 3.

“Today has been a very positive day for Team BVI at the Junior PanAm Games,” said Chef de Mission Adam Murrills. “The day started with a very tough game for our basketball team against one of the favourites. They really showed a strong mentality in bouncing back in their 2nd match against home country Colombia. They still have a chance of qualifying and so there is everything still to play for. After speaking with the boys they are up for the challenge and are looking forward to getting stuck in!

“Thad had a great day out on the water executing objectives which put him in 4th place ready to mount a challenge for a medal while Jaleel did the business in the 200m semi-final and everyone is looking forward to cheering him on in his final where he’ll be going in with no pressure!”

BVI Olympic President Ephraim Penn has been in Colombia since November 21 where he attended the meetings as a member of the Technical Commission as well as attending the Panam Sports AGM and the Extraordinary General Assembly of Centro Caribe Sports along with Secretary General Lloyd Black.

“So far the Cali 2021 Junior PanAm Games have been very busy both from a technical perspective and from the angle of our athletes, coaches and physio, Levi James” said President Penn. “This is a new experience for all but one of our juniors – that being Thad Lettsome who competed in his first major Games at the Lima 2019 PanAm Games. I am impressed with how the athletes have adapted to the demands and expectations of international competition guided by their coaches. They are excited, yet disciplined and focused and are great ambassadors for the Virgin Islands. As Chef de Mission, Adam Murrills is doing an excellent job of making sure that our athletes are well looked after and that the delegation is kept up to date and informed of all schedules and requirements as may be announced by the organisers. As the BVI Olympic Committee, we couldn’t be prouder of our team and we look forward to the action over the next couple of days.”

The live action can be seen on Panam Sports Channel, CBNTelevision.com and CBN Channel 101. Full scores for competing nations can be found on calivalle2021.com.