VI’s 1984 Olympians recognized, Paris 2024 Opening Wear revealed during Olympic Day celebrations

The BVI Olympic Committee, in collaboration with its member National Federations and in partnership with the H Lavity Stoutt Community College, hosted its 5th annual Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day on Saturday, June 22 in the BVI.

The morning event, guided by BVIOC Athletes’ Commission Chair, Ashley Kelly OLY commenced with an Olympic Day message and remarks by BVIOC President Ephraim Penn on the 40th anniversary of BVI representation at the Olympic Games. Special recognition was given to the Los Angeles 1984 Olympians. They are track and field athletes Lindel “Chef” Hodge (200m, 4×400), Guy Hill (100m, 4x400m), Dean Greenaway (400m, 4 x 400m), Jerry Molyneux (800m, 4x400m) and the Soling Class team of sailors led by Dr. Robin Tattersall to include Keith Thomas and Elvet Meyers, with brothers Keith Barker and the late Peter Barker sailing in the 470 class. Tokens from the BVIOC were presented to the attending 1984 Olympians by His Excellency Governor Daniel Pruce and Honourable Sharie de Castro, Minster for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports.

Co-founder and Past President of the BVIOC, Rey O’Neal OBE gave an overview of the BVI’s participation in its first Summer Olympics, Los Angeles 1984.

Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott OLY followed up with an update on the Paris 2024 Games. The Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony wear for the BVI Team featuring a Paradise Blue fabric designed exclusively for the BVIOC by Kristin Frazer of Trefle Design was then displayed for the first time at the close of the ceremony.

“it is very fitting that, as we celebrate 40 years of attendance at the Olympic Games today, we are participating in the Paris 2024 Games with the same sports that we started off with at Los Angeles 1984 – track and field and sailing,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. ”As we mark this special occasion as part of our Olympic Day celebrations, I encourage you all to take encouragement from our past Olympians and find a sport or some other physical activity that keeps you moving, keeps you active and keeps you fit at all stages of your life.”

Early morning runs hosted by the BVI Runners Club and in Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke started the Olympic Day activities. The offerings included interactive stations hosted on the HLSCC campus grounds by the Virgin Islands Archery Association, BVI Cycling Federation, BVI Netball Club, the Virgin Islands Softball-Baseball Association and the Sea Cow’s Bay Basketball Club, and a maritime history display by the Department of Culture. Information on the marine and maritime courses at the college were offered by HLSCC representatives along with tours of the mangrove boardwalk.

On Brandywine Bay beach, the activities were offered by the Royal BVI Yacht Club, the Barracuda Swim Team and KATS, The BVI Football Association (BVIFA), BVI Rugby Football Union and Virgin Islands Volleyball Association. Over 200 participants of all ages who were registered across all activities in the territory were kept hydrated with complimentary Powerade and Dasani Water provided courtesy of Road Town Wholesale, distributors of Coca Cola products – an Olympic Games sponsor.

The BVI Athletics Association (BVIAA) also hosted its National Championships – Paris 2024 qualifier – as part of the Olympic Day celebrations on Friday June 21 and Saturday June 22.

The BVIOC thanks all National Federations and clubs, the HLSCC, coaches, volunteers and participants for hosting, supporting and joining in the activities designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to learn, move and discover a sport that fits for a healthier life.

Click to see the gallery of photos of the day posted on the BVIOC Facebook page.

5th annual Sports Festival and walks celebrate Olympic Day as BVIOC marks the 40th anniversary of Olympic Games participation

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with its member National Federations and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports (DYAS) and in partnership with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, will host the 5th annual free Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day. The event will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2024, across Tortola and include activities on Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. This family-friendly festival is open to the public of all ages and abilities.

This year’s celebration is particularly special as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Virgin Islands’ (UK) first appearance at the Olympic Games. In 1984, the territory was represented by speed skater Erroll “Canute” Fraser at the Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games and a team of four track and field athletes and five sailors at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. The athletics team members included Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Guy Hill, Dean Greenaway, and Jerry Molyneaux, while the sailing team featured Robin Tattersall, Elvet Meyers, Keith Thomas, Keith Barker and the late Peter Barker. These past Olympians will be honored at the event.

Sports Festival Highlights

This year’s Sports Festival will be hosted from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the HLSCC campus grounds in Paraquita Bay, returning to the original site of the festival’s launch in 2012. A partnership with the college was agreed for co-hosting Olympic Day events, underscoring the relationship between the BVIOC and the HLSCC through the swimming pool project.

Interactive stations at the college grounds include archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, netball, softball and squash. The BVI Anit-Doping Commission and health and nutrition advisors will also be on site.

The Department of Culture will be showcasing an interactive maritime historical display with the Maritime Museum open for visits. The Heritage Dancers will continue to build on their participation with lessons in some of the VI’s traditional dance steps.

Additional activities will take place simultaneously at Brandywine Bay Beach with aquatic and marine sports including sailing and swimming stations, alongside beach sports hosted by the volleyball, rugby and football federations.

DYAS will be hosting corporate competitions with points to be accrued for the winner’s title.

Walk/runs will take place from 6:30am on Virgin Gorda starting at the VG Recreation Ground and on Anegada starting at the Claudia Creque Educational Centre. On Jost Van Dyke, the walk/run will start at 5:30am from the Albert Chinnery Admin Building, Great Harbour.

“Sports Festival is designed to showcase various sports and encourage the public to move, learn and discover as they try out different activities they can incorporate into their lifestyle for better fitness and health,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. “There is a lot on offer, and it most definitely is a great opportunity for everyone in the family to get involved together. I encourage all to join us for a day of fun, fitness, and celebration of the Olympic spirit!”

Olympic Year Celebrations

2024 is an Olympic year, and the BVI will be represented at the Paris 2024 Games by two outstanding athletes: Kyron McMaster OBE OLY, a 400m hurdles 2x Commonwealth Games champion and World Athletics Championship silver medalist, and ILCA7 (laser) sailor Thad Lettsome. Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott will attend the Olympic Day celebrations with updates on the preparation for the Games with VI designer, Kristin Fraser unveiling the Opening Ceremony wear for the BVI team at Paris 2024.

Event attendees will have the chance to receive Olympic Day tee shirts (subject to availability) and enjoy Coca-Cola products including Dasani water and Powerade.

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.

More information on Olympic Day and the event can be found here.

VI (UK) ILCA7 (Laser) sailor Thad Lettsome secures spot at Paris 2024 Olympic Games – becomes first BVI sailor at Olympics since 1996!

ILCA7 (Laser)sailor Thad Lettsome, who qualified for the Pan American Games at the 2023 San Salvador CAC Games at the time this photo was taken, wil represent the Virgin Islands (UK) at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after securing a Universality Place. Photo: BVIOC/Chris Watters

The BVI Olympic Committee today received and accepted an official invitation from the Tripartite Commission in collaboration with World Sailing, for the allocation of a Universality Place at the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games to BVI’s ILCA7 (Laser) sailor, Thad Lettsome. At 22 years old, Lettsome becomes the first BVI sailor to compete at an Olympic Games since 1996 when 2x Olympian Robby Hirst competed in the Laser event at the Atlanta Games.

The BVIOC and Chef de Mission for Paris 2024, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott received the official invitation via email. Lettsome was one of 3 sailors eligible for the two available spots for the Universality Place. Competing at The Last Chance Regatta in Hyères, France (April 21-27), Lettsome placed 31 out of 61 sailors to edge up his rankings.

“This is an historic occasion for the Virgin Islands, the Royal BVI Yacht Club and for the BVI Olympic Committee,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. “One of our mandates is to increase the number of sports represented at major Games. Through Olympic Solidarity and Panam Sports funding, the BVIOC has supported the development of sailing and Thad’s progression for several years and today we have reached an incredible milestone with the offer of a Universality Place at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for a BVI sailor.

“We commend Thad, his parents, Lisa and Clyde Lettsome as well as his scholastic, collegiate and national sailing coaches throughout his young career, including Richard Wooldridge, Chris Watters and RBVIYC Administrator Tamsin Rand for their dedication and continued commitment to succeed in the sport and represent our nation at the highest level.”

“The Royal BVI Yacht Club is over the moon for Thad!” said RBVIYC Commodore Eddie Brockbank. “Since his first days learning to sailing with us he has shown talent, commitment and determination to reach his goals. We are delighted to have BVI sailing represented at the Olympic Games again and could not be more proud to support Thad at this incredible opportunity. The support from the BVIOC, PanAm Sports, World Sailing, Olympic Solidarity and the BVI Government are crucial to the continued development of our athletes and we are sincerely grateful to everyone who has been a part of this journey.”

Lettsome, who has been competing as a sailor for the Virgin Islands since he was 6 years old, joins Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles) as a confirmed BVI athlete set to compete at Paris 2024.

Lettsome and McMaster are members of the BVIOC’s current roster of elite athletes benefiting from the Tahesia Harrigan-Scott Elite Athlete Scholarship programme.

Funds from the THSEAS are entirely dedicated to the development of the BVIOC’s elite athletes identified by their respective National Federations and confirmed by the International Federations as being on track to compete for medals at major Games. The roster of athletes each receive a monthly stipend to assist them on their journey to the Olympics. The fund distribution is documented in regular reports for Olympic Solidarity and PanAm Sports who provide $200,000 towards the programme.

Other athletes in the THSEAS programme include national and regional record holders with proven track records in major Games – Chantel Malone (long jump), Eldred Henry (shot put), Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m) and Adaejah Hodge (200m).

The THSEAS stipend contributes to training and coaching, athlete support including access to sports medicine, physical therapy, performance analysis, nutrition counselling, and mental resilience training.

Major sponsors who committed to support the THSEAS earlier in the year include Clarence Thomas Ltd (CTL), DLT Solutions, Conyers, Capriccio di Mare Trattoria, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Mrs. Vivian Lloyd and Trident Trust.

CTL, DLT Solutions, Conyers and Capriccio step in to support BVIOC roster of elite athletes on journey to Paris 2024 Olympic Games

With the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games just five months away, private sector businesses have stepped in to support the BVI Olympic Committee’s roster of elite athletes on their journey to the Games. The announcement of Clarence Thomas Ltd (CTL), DLT Solutions, Conyers and Capriccio as key sponsors of the renamed Tahesia Harrigan-Scott Elite Athlete Scholarship (THSEAS) fund was made at a media briefing held at the BVIOC office in Road Town on March 5.
 
For the past twelve years, starting in 2012, the BVIOC has provided a stipend framework that funds the development of the BVIOC’s elite athletes who are on track to compete for medals at major Games. 
 
The annual funding for the elite athlete scholarship initiative – renamed on March 5, 2024 to the Tahesia Harrigan-Scott Elite Athlete Scholarship – is currently $200,000 each year and comes in the form of athlete grants from the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity (OS) and Panam Sports and is disbursed directly to the BVIOC’s quadrennial roster of elite athletes. The athletes are identified in collaboration with the National Federations, International Federations and OS.
 
The BVIOC’s current roster of elite athletes – all of whom are national and regional record holders with proven track records in major Games – include Kyron McMaster, silver medalist in World Championships and world ranked #4 in the men’s 400m hurdles, Chantel Malone (long jump), Eldred Henry (shot put), Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m) Adaejah Hodge (200m) and Thad Lettsome (ILCA 7 laser sailor).
 
“With medals in mind, the BVIOC is seeking to boost the monthly stipend for the 6  athletes on our roster identified as likely to make the team for Paris 2024 which takes place this summer July 26 – August 11,” said BVIOC and BVI Commonwealth Games Association President Ephraim Penn. “The annual sum for the programme has already been allocated and we are very grateful for the sponsors that have come on board this year to help with the additional funds required by the athletes to continue to cover the services of their respective coaches and therapists over the next five months.”
 
Explaining more about the scholarship programme, BVIOC/BVICGA Treasurer Mark Chapman said, “The THSEAS stipend contributes to training and coaching, athlete support including access to sports medicine, physical therapy, performance analysis, nutrition counselling, and mental resilience training. These resources are critical in helping athletes reach their full potential and achieve success at the international level. Our reporting system for the grants ensures accountability and transparency in the distribution of funds.”
 
President Penn also mentioned that going forward, the THSEAS programme will benefit from a committee comprising representatives of the BVIOC, beneficiary athletes’ National Federations and sponsors to review and discuss the ongoing needs and disbursement of funds to the roster of athletes.
 
CTL has committed to supporting the THSEAS programme for four years with an annual sponsorship of $10,000. Mr. David Thomas, Operations Manager speaking at the media briefing said, “Clarence Thomas Ltd has always been at the forefront in trying to help any development that happens in our country. We believe in supporting and assisting where we can in the development of our future stars. We are in a unique position right now with our current world class athletes with more coming up so it wasn’t difficult for us to come on board and help.”
 
Sharing comments remotely on behalf of Mr. Ronan Kuczaj, Founder and CEO of DLT Solutions, who have sponsored the THSEAS fund with a $10,000 donation for 2024, BVIOC Secretary General Lloyd Black said, “DLT Solutions is delighted to be an officer sponsor of the programme.  We acknowledge the immense dedication and sacrifice made by the athletes and their families in pursuing their dreams and also representing the Virgin Islands. Speaking personally, we felt compelled to donate to this project as a tribute to the late and great Dag Samuels, whose infectious spirit surrounded us when we were playing rugby on the field adjacent to his superlative track and field program.  Dag’s joyful smile lives long in the memory, much like his athletic legacy, evidenced by this latest crop of talented athletes.”
 
Conyers has contributed $10,000 to the programme for the road to Paris 2024 with an option to renew the commitment thereafter. Mark Forte, Managing Partner and Head of Litigation and Restructuring for Conyers said, “As a major employer within the community we believe strongly in supporting various initiatives in the community and are attracted to programmes that help develop, address the future and aspirations of talent. We identify with the notions of perseverance, commitment, achievement, dedication and no short cuts so we are proud to play a part and congratulate all those involved in the [THSEAS] programme. We wish all the best to our athletes and look forward to watching them strive in Paris – it’s not all about winning but it’s about development of the individual, the team, the community, and the country is the most important thing.”
 
Mark Forte, who also is a partner in the Capriccio di Mare Trattoria in Road Town, made a surprise commitment at the media briefing announcing a contribution of $5000 by the Italian restaurant to the THSEAS programme.
 
Attending the media briefing remotely, Chef de Mission for Paris 2024, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott OLY stressed the importance of the financial support provided by the fund that helps to remove the burden of stress from the athletes. Acknowledging the support from the BVIOC and the sponsors, Harrigan-Scott said “the progression and medals come with a level of responsibility and commitment, not only from the athletes but form the supporting members and everyone in the BVI. I commend the BVIOC and sponsors and encourage others to contribute what they can and be part of the journey and the mission.”
 
National Federation representatives, BVI Athletics Association President Steve Augustine and RBVIYC Sailing Association Administrator Ms. Tamsin Rand thanked the sponsors. Each provided an overview of the respective sports development and importance of the funding to support athletes’ progress. BVIOC Member at Large Gloria Fahie concluded the briefing with a vote of thanks and invitation for additional sponsors of the programme.

The announcement of the major sponsors included a brief virtual appearance and words of thanks from 400m hurdler Kyron McMaster OBE OLY, who said, “Everyone benefiting from this programme thanks you tremendously because the saying “it takes a village to raise one” is apt for the BVI. We are not as big as the nations of the world we are up against. We are a small fish trying to make big waves in an ocean and with the support we are getting from the BVIOC and the private sector, these funds help us to move mountains you can’t imagine!”
 
THSEAS sponsors have access to tickets to select events at Paris 2024. Entities who would like to support the THSEAS programme are invited to contact the BVIOC office by email at info@bviolympics.org or call (284) 346 8375 or visit the THSEAS web page for more information.

 4 athletes confirmed for Santiago 2023 PanAm Games

Four athletes are officially confirmed as members of the team who will represent the Virgin Islands (UK) in track and field and sailing at the 2023 Pan American (PanAm) Games. The 19th edition of the Games takes place October 20 – November 5, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. The BVI Olympic Committee named Eldred Henry (shot put), Djimon Gumbs (discus throw), Deya Erickson (100m hurdles) and Thad Lettsome (men’s ILCA 7 laser) as registered to compete.
 
Erickson will be the flag bearer for the VI at the Opening Ceremony on October 20.
 
This will be Henry and Lettsome’s second Panam Games appearance and the first for Gumbs and Erickson.
 
The schedule for the track and field events starts on October 30 when Gumbs will compete in the discus throw at 6:40pm EST. Erickson competes in the 100m hurdles heats at 5:45pm EST on October 31 with Henry competing in the shot put at 4:25pm EST on November 3.
 
The track and field events take place at the Coliseo del Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez, Ñuñoa, Región Metropolitana.
 
Lettsome’s races will take place 11:00am – 5:30pm at Cofradia Nautica del Pacífico in the Valparaiso region, October 28 – November 5.
 
Mark Chapman is the Chef de Mission for Santiago 2023.
 
“This is the VI’s 11th Pan Am Games. We have competed in each of the Games since the 9th edition. The event will be the last of the season for our athletes and I am satisfied that the Games’ organisers have put in all efforts to provide comfortable accommodations and good competition venues,” said Chapman.
 
“It has been a long season for all team members, and we congratulate them on securing spots at the Games,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. “It’s the last major competition of the year before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and we wish our athletes well.”
 
Penn will be in Chile for the PanAm Sports AGM ahead of the Games which he will attend not just as President of the BVIOC, but also as a member of the PanAm Sports Technical Commission.
 
Approximately 6,909 participants from 41 countries in the Caribbean and Americas are expected to compete in 39 sports. The Games provide an opportunity for competitiors to qualify for Paris 2024. The Games will be streamed live on the Panam Sports Channel on YouTube with news on our athletes provided by Kamal Haynes, 284 Media and Todd Van Sickle of the BVI Beacon.

Djimon Gumbs, Rikkoi Brathwaite win bronze medals at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games. Final events coming up.

Five athletes in two sports represented the Virgin Islands (UK) non July 3 at the San Salvador 2023 CAC Games.

In Track and field events at the Estadio Nacional Jorge “El Magic” Gonzales, Djimon Gumbs, in his first appearance at a CAC Games, won the first medal for the VI at the 24th edition of the Games with a bronze in the shot put after hurling a distance of 19.00m (62.34ft) in his third attempt.

Eldred Henry OLY – shot put National Record holder (21.47m /70.44ft) – placed 6th in the shot put final with a best distance of 18.12m (59.45ft) during his 3rd attempt. Henry had won the territory’s first shot put medal at the CAC Games with a hurl of 20.18m (66.21ft) during his debut at Barranquilla 2018.

Sprinter Rikkoi Brathwaite went on to secure the territory’s second medal at the San Salvador 2023 with a bronze medal win in the 100m in a time of 10.26 seconds. Brathwaite had placed 1st in his heat with a time of 10.29 seconds a couple of hours earlier in his maiden race at the CACs.

The first ever medal for the BVI at a CAC Games was won in the very same stadium in 2002 by Dion Crabbe in the 100m with a then national record time of 10.28 seconds. Brathwaite would go on to break the record with a time of 10.20 seconds achieved at the 2022 NACAC Open Championships, Freeport, Bahamas.

“We knew that the competition field at San Salvador 2023 would be tough with strong contenders for medals and we couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments of Djimon Gumbs and Rikkoi Brathwaite,” said BVI Olympic President Ephraim Penn. “With 2 more days of competition to come, we wish our athletes all the best in their events.”

Athletes who also were competing at San Salvador 2023 on July 3 included Beyoncé Defreitas who debuted in heat 3 of the 100m semi finals to place 4th with a non-advancing time of 11.84 seconds. Defreitas will compete again in the 200m on July 5.

Archer Ritseeniyah Georges, who had competed in the first round of the women’s compound individual event at the Poligogo de Tiro con Arco Ciudad Merliot on July 2, lost 123 – 148 against Andrea Becerra (Mexico) in the elimination round. Georges had an average of 8.2 out of 10 compared to Becerra’s average of 9.9. Georges is the first archer to represent the VI at a major Games with her appearance at San Salvador 2023.

Deya Erickson made her second appearance at a CAC Games competing in the 100m hurdles semi finals on July 4. Her time of 13.92 for a fifth place finish qualified her to move on to the finals on July 5.

Also competing on July 5 are Jaleel Croal, who debuts at the CACs in the 200m semi finals. Twin brothers Djimon and Diamanté Gumbs will compete in the discus. This is also the first CAC games for the Diamanté Gumbs.

“Congratulations on great performances,” said Chef de Mission Gloria Fahie. “They are the beginning of greater accomplishments yet to come!”

Henry, Brathwaite and Georges along with archery coach Winnette Lawrence and technician Xavier Buxo depart El Salvador on July 6. ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome and coach Chris Watters left on July 2 after Lettsome qualified for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games with an overall 6th place in his event.

The BVI has won medals at every CAC Games since 2002 including 5 gold medals – 3 in the 100m by Dion Crabbe at San Salvador 2022, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott at Cartagena de Indias 2006 and Mayaguez 2010; 1 in long jump by Chantel Malone at Vera Cruz 2014 and 1 in the 400m hurdles by Kyron McMaster at Barranquilla 2018. Malone also won silver in long jump at Barranquilla 2018.

The BVI Delegation to the San Salvador 2023 CAC Games included 9 athletes in 3 sports. Missing from photo are ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome and coach Chris Watters.

ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome qualifies for Santiago 2023 Pan American Games at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games

ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome qualifies for Santiago 2023 Pan American Games after placing 6th overall at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games. Photo credit: Chris Watters

The San Salvador 2023 CAC Games regatta marks a major accomplishment for a BVI sailor. It is the first time since 1993 that the BVI is represented at the CAC Games and is also the first time this century where a sailor has officially qualified for a place in the Pan American Games. Robbie Hirst was the last sailor to qualify and compete for the BVI at the Pan Am Games where he placed 7th in the 1995 Games in Mar Del Plato, Argentina.

The report presents a day-by-day account of Thad’s road to historic success at the 24th CAC Games.

Day One
The first day of the ILCA 7 men’s single-handed event at the San Salvador 2023 CAC Games started off with a fleet of 16 ILCA 7 lasers racing in light and tricky conditions. Thad would manage to get off the start line clean and sail a conservative first leg, rounding the top mark in 5th position. A large wind shift to the right on the second upwind would put Thad on his back foot. However, with a speedy downwind to finish the race, he would end up in 8th overall.

In race two, the wind built to an unexpected 14-15knots and Thad would take an aggressive approach on the start to be the first one off the line at the race committee end. This allowed him to tack out cleanly and go to the right hand side of the race course. With a few missed shifts at the top mark, Thad would fight back hard to pass boats on the last downwind, finishing in 9th position.

With just 1 spot left for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Chile this fall, Thad lies in 3rd position to qualify and 8th overall in the regatta after day 1. With 10 more races scheduled over the next 5 day

Day Four
Finally we race! After 2 days of no wind, and no races, the race committee was able to get off two quality races in light to building conditions.

In the first race of the day, Thad would get off to a slow start after being held back initially by debris getting stuck on his center board and rudder. After a hard fought 3rd leg (second upwind) Thad would mount a comeback and see him finish 6th in race 3 of the regatta.

In the second race of the day, the breeze built to a solid 12-14knts. Thad would have a great start, and execute his plan to go up the right side of the course to round the top mark in 2nd position. After a great downwind he would maintain the 2nd position for the last upwind, only to see a small right shift send him back 2 places yet still finish the race with a 4th overall, his best score out of the 4 races to date.

More importantly, Thad now sits 6th overall, and 1st in line to grab the 1 Pan American Games Qualification spot to represent BVI at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games this fall in Chile. With over 10 countries fighting for this 1 spot, Thad has placed himself in a great position leading up to the last 2 days of the event.

Day Six
With just two points separating Thad from the remaining competitors who were seeking Pan Am qualification, the racing was sure to be the hardest yet of the week with the Cuban, United States Virgin Islands, Mexico and Antigua all within grasp of the one spot.

In the first race of the day, Thad would get a good start and remain in front of the elite group, with the exception of the USVI sailor.

Going into the second race of the day, the wind built to a steady 15-17 knots. The race committee was able to get off a clean start and Thad would put his best race of the series down with a solid 2nd place overall for race number 8 of the series.

With Thad’s 2nd place, it would mathematically ensure that no one could claim the Pan Am qualification spot moving forward, and also put Thad into 5th place overall.

However, with the race committee squeezing in 1 final race just seconds before the cut off time, it would come down to who beats who for the 5th overall. A close battle with the Guatemalan sailor saw Thad just slip back 1 point away from 5th overall and finish the regatta 6th overall – just a single point out.

Thad competed in the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games in Peru after receiving a universality place at age 19. His performance at Lima qualified him for the Cali 2021 Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia.

The Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games, which take place October 25 – November 5 in Chile, will also serve as a continental qualifier for the 2024 Olympics with 2 spots available for North American sailors!

Community Learns, Moves and Discovers at 4th annual Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day

Adults and children celebrated Olympic Day with activities on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 24.

The 4th annual free Sports Festival organised by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) took place at the A. O. Shirley Grounds. The morning event, featuring 14 activity stations hosted by National Federations and the BVI Heritage Dancers, was abuzz with excitement and energy. Moving from one sport to the next, attendees of all ages and abilities shot, ran, pitched, dunked, cycled, volleyed, side-stepped, kicked and danced their way around the field.

BVIOC 1st Vice President Sabinah Clement opened the morning with the “Let’s Move” invitation from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. The call was to discover an inspiring activity to incorporate as a daily movement to optimise physical and mental wellbeing.

“Olympic Day is an annual celebration focused on improving the quality of life of our community. The annual Sports Festival, brought to life by our national federations, and the events across the sister islands hosted by LTAD ambassadors, provide a window of opportunity for everyone to move together and discover an array of activities from walking to dancing for a happier and healthier lifestyle,” said Ms. Clement. “I encourage you to use the morning to learn, move and discover.”

His Excellency the Governor Mr. John Rankin leant his voice to the call to action, citing in particular his support of events that get the youth engaged and active. Highlighting the remarkable achievements of the sports-men and -women of the Virgin Islands, Governor Rankin made special mention of 400m hurdles Commonwealth champion Kyron McMaster, sprint phenomenon Adaejah Hodge and the NBA draft D’Moi Hodge recently signed to the L.A. Lakers – the roll call indicating an unusual wealth of talent per capita to be discovered and developed starting at events such as the Sports Festival.

BVIOC Athlete Representative and Athletes’ Association Chair, Olympian Ashley Kelly echoed the encouragement to get active.

Participating National Federations included the Virgin Islands Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Basketball Federation in collaboration with Mr. Milton McClean, BVI Cycling Federation, BVI Rugby Football Union, BVI Royal Yacht Club for sailing, Virgin Islands Softball/Baseball Association, BVI Squash Rackets Association, Boynes Taekwondo Academy, BVI Triathlon Federation and the Virgin Islands Volleyball Association. The Netball association also was represented while the BVI Heritage Dancers participated for the first time this year. Each station host reported signing up new recruits to their sport and dance troupe.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool and Dr. Ryan Kelly, representing the BVI National Anti-Doping Commission, were in attendance to speak on the anti-doping regulations and clean sports.

The San Salvador 2023 CAC Games’ 9 athletes and coaches attending the first major Games of the year were also acknowledged and congratulated on making the team. In person at the Sports Festival were the Gumbs twins – Djimon (shot put and discus) and Diamante (discus) and Ritseeniyah Georges (compound archery), who all make their first appearances at a CAC Games. The VI will also be represented in track and field by Olympian Eldred Henry, Rikkoi Brathwaite, Beyonce Defreitas, Deya Erickson and Jaleel Croal and ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome.

The Trident 10K Championship and Olympic Day 10k, 5k and 1k Race kicked off at 6:30am on Tortola as the community on Virgin Gorda took part in a walk/run followed by a friendly game of softball. Early risers joined in a roundtrip walk from Great Harbour to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.

BVIOC President, Ephraim Penn, who was in El Salvador for the Centro Caribe Sports AGM ahead of the opening of the 24th CAC Games, acknowledged the contributions of the station hosts, sponsors and event supporters for a successful day. “The Executive Board is pleased with the collaborative effort between the BVIOC, National Federations and community groups to celebrate Olympic Day and act in unity for the greater good,” said Mr. Penn.

Sponsors and supporters included Road Town Wholesale, distributor of Coca-Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, and the National Bank of the Virgin Islands.

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 together for peace.

Browse the full gallery of photos on Facebook.

9 athletes to represent Virgin Islands in 3 sports at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) has confirmed that 9 athletes from 3 sports will represent the Virgin Islands at the 24th Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, El Salvador from June 23 – July 8, 2023.
 
The team comprising 4 track and 3 field athletes, 1 sailor and 1 archer will arrive in El Salvador between June 22 and July 1 ahead of their events. Chef de Mission, Gloria Fahie arrives in San Salvador on June 21 ahead of the athletes in preparation for their arrival. BVIOC President Ephraim Penn is in San Salvador to attend the Centro Caribe Sport AGM before the Opening Ceremony.
 
“This year’s CAC Games are seen as an important qualifying and ranking opportunity for athletes from all sports we can expect to see some tough competition,” said President Penn. “It will be the first time that archery will be represented at these Games and the second time for sailing since 1993 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Athletics has seen representation since the VI’s first participation in the CACs in 1982 and has included softball, squash, triathlon and cycling. This historic achievement for archery is a promising trajectory for the development of different sports in the Territory and brings to fruition one of the BVIOC’s missions for this quadrennial to have more sports compete at major Games.”
 
Laser sailor Thad Lettsome, competing in the ILCA 7 men’s single person dinghy event, is the first of the VI’s team to compete when the sailing events start on Saturday, June 24 at Lake Ilpongo. Lettsome is also selected to be the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, June 23.
 
Archer Ritseeniyah Georges will compete in the Women’s Compound Individual starting Sunday, July 2 at 9:00am at the Polígono de Tiro con Arco Ciudad Merliot.
 
Track athletes include Rikkoi Brathwaite in the 100m semi-finals starting at 5:00pm and Beyonce Defreitas in the 100m semi-finals starting at 5:30pm on Monday, July 3; Deya Erickson in the 100m hurdles semi-finals starting at 5:45pm, Tuesday, July 4; Jaleel Croal in the 200m semi-finals starting at 5:00pm and Beyonce Defreitas in the 200m semi-finals starting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, July 5.
 
The all-men field athletes comprise Olympian Eldred Henry and twins Djimon and Diamante Gumbs. Henry and Djimon Gumbs will compete in the shot put final on Monday, July 3 starting at 5:25pm. Djimon and Diamante Gumbs will compete in the discus final on Wednesday, July 5 starting at 6:55pm.
 
While San Salvador 2023 will be the first CAC Games for 7 of the athletes, it will be the second appearance for Henry, who won the territory’s first shot put medal in a CAC games when he placed 3rd with a distance of 20.18m at Barranquilla 2018 and for Erickson who made her debut at the same games in the 100m hurdles.
 
In addition to the Chef de Mission Gloria Fahie and President Penn, the VI delegation to San Salvador 2023 includes Erwin “Redz” Telemaque (athletics coach), Winnette Lawrence (archery coach), Xavier Buxo (archery technician), Chris Watters (sailing coach) and Chester James (Physiotherapist).
 
The VI will be one of 37 countries represented at the CAC Games. The games, under the auspices of Centro Caribe Sports, will feature 57 disciplines in 37 sports taking place over 16 days. The Games, under the theme “It’s time to transcend”, will be broadcast live on the Centro Caribe Sports Channel on YouTube.
 
The CAC Games are the oldest continuous running regional games dating back to 1926. Held every four years, the Games typically host competitors from countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda and the South American countries of Suriname, Guyana, Colombia and Venezuela. The San Salvador 2023 Games were originally slated to be held in Panama in 2022. 30 sports will take place in El Salvador and 7 will take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
 
The CAC Games are considered the starting point of international competition for athletes from the region who are seeking to represent their countries at the Olympic level. They are designed to provide a step between sub-CAC region Games held the first year following a Summer Olympics and the Pan American Games, which are held before the Summer Olympic. The next Pan American Games are slated to take place in Santiago, Chile October 20 – November 5, 2023.

More information on the San Salvador 2023 Games can be found on their website.

Follow the BVIOC page on FaceBook for regular updates and results.

“Let’s Move” invitation to 4th annual Sports Festival and walk/runs celebrating Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in collaboration with its member National Federations will host the 4th free annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturday, June 24. The event will be preceded by the Trident Trust Championship and Olympic Day race with a 10k, 5k and 1k run/walk starting from the grounds at 6:30am. Walks will take place on Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke at 6:30am and at 5:30am respectively.
 
The roundtrip walk/run from the recreational field in Spanish Town to the Baths will culminate with a friendly softball game on the fields on Virgin Gorda. For people on Jost Van Dyke, the dawn walk will start from the Albert Chinnery Administration Building in Great Harbour to the Soggy Dollar parking lot in White Bay and return to Great Harbour.
 
The events across the islands will mark Olympic Day which is internationally recognised each year on June 23.  This year, the International Olympic Committee has themed the event “Let’s Move”.
 
The world is moving faster than ever, but people are moving less. Research has found that one in four adults and over 80% of young people are not able to meet the recommended minimum activity levels needed for optimum health (WHO, 2022).
 
“Encouraging physical activity throughout the wider community is one of the remits the BVIOC has been working on through the Long Term Athlete Development programme,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “Our Olympic Day celebrations through the Sports Festival has embraced the concept of helping people of all ages and abilities to move by finding an activity that appeals to them. Walking is also an activity that’s easy to do and the community walks help to remind people of the pleasure and satisfaction of that exercise. We are pleased that our LTAD partners in Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke are helping to promote the message.”
 
The walk/runs on VG, JVD and the early morning run/walk on Tortola hosted by the BVI Runners, the road racing affiliate of the BVIAA, is a traditional global Olympic Day event.
 
The collaboration on Tortola with the different National Federations, the National Anti-Doping Commission, the Public Health Unit and, new for this year, the BVI Heritage Dancers, provides an opportunity for the public on Tortola to combine discovering an activity that they can engage in, understand what is meant by “clean sports” and learn about optimizing their nutritional intake.
 
The morning will feature interactive stations suitable for adults and children alike. Skills can be tested in archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, rugby, sailing, softball, squash, taekwondo, triathlon and volleyball. Director of Culture, Dr. Katherine Smith will provide insight to the history of the dances to be taught by the BVI Heritage Dancers. Olympian and chair of the BVI Athletes’ Commission, Ashley Kelly will run an outdoor fitness circuit and host Olympian Q & A sessions. Dr. Harlan Vanterpool, Chief Anti-doping Officer will speak about clean sport and the importance of understanding prescription and over the counter medication as well as the impact of recreational drug usage. Ms. Patrice Maduro of the Public Health Unit will be providing guidance on health and nutrition.
 
Free Olympic Day tee shirts on registration and subject to availability and complimentary Coca Cola products Dasani water, and Powerade will be provided courtesy of Road Town Wholesale.
 
In the run up to Sports Festival and in marking Olympic Day values, National Federations are hosting training sessions which the public are welcome to join in as follows:
·       Archery at the HLSCC, Paraquita Bay – 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday June 18.
·       Athletics at the A.O.Shirley Recreation Grounds 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Saturday, June 17;
·       Squash will host an open session with visiting professional players at the Tortola Sports Club starting at 3:30pm on Monday, June 19.
·       Rugby will have a training session with visiting professional rugby player, ex All Black, Norm Maxwell at 6:00pm on Wednesday, June 21 at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds.
·       Taekwondo will host open sessions for youths Monday, June 19 through Thursday, June 22 at 3:30pm – 4:30pm and 5;00pm:45pm – 6:45pm. Adult sessions will take place on Monday and Thursday, 7:00pm – 8:00pm.
More information on these sessions can be sought from the National Federations whose contact details can be found on www.bviolympics.org.
 
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.