BVIOC secures IOC approval for Territorial Song to be played at Olympic Games and other institutional events

British Virgin Islands Kyron Mcmaster won the men’s 400m hurdles final in a time of 48.25 seconds during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast on April 12, 2018. It was the Virgin Islands’ first medal at a Commonwealth Games and was the impetus for the BVI Olympic Committee’s request to have the Territorial Song, “Oh Beautiful Virgin Islands” registered by the International Olympic Committee to be played at sporting events rather than the National Anthem, “God Save the Queen”. The IOC confirmed the change in May 2020. .Photo credit: SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Marking another historic moment in sports for the Virgin Islands, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) received approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Territorial Song, “Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” to be played at future editions of the Olympic Games, the Youth Olympic Games and other institutional events and official activities of the IOC and its Affiliated Entities. The permission was confirmed by the IOC via email sent on May 7, 2020 after the BVIOC started the process for approval in 2018.

“The BVIOC is exceptionally proud to attain this milestone not just for our nation but for our athletes, their coaches, parents and supporters,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The motivation and emotion that is tied up in representing your country at a major competition can’t be underestimated. Hearing your national song playing as you enter an arena or when you stand on the podium enhances the sense of achievement and pride and underscores all the sacrifices, time and effort that athletes, teams and their support base put in to qualify and compete.”

Prior to this date, the national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, was played at major regional and international competitions and events during opening, closing and medal ceremonies to acknowledge the participation and podium finishes of the VI’s athletes and teams.

The BVIOC launched the process for approval at the urging of the former Minister for Education and Culture, Mr. Myron Walwyn who enquired about the possibility after Mr. Kyron McMaster’s historic gold medal win in the 400m Hurdles on April 12, 2018 at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. The emotional occasion was made all the more poignant for it happening just 6 months after the devastation wreaked in the VI by Hurricane Irma and the tragic passing of McMaster’s mentor and national track and field coach, Mr. Xavier “Dag” Samuels. At that time, it became clear that the Territorial Song, which speaks to the VI’s national pride and identity, would have been the ideal accompaniment to the flag raising and medal ceremony.

Further noting that the VI was one of the few nations that did not have its national song approved to be played at major sporting events, Penn made the inquiries and acted on the requirements to change the anthem registered with the IOC from the National Anthem to the Territorial Song.

The initiative was closely followed and encouraged by Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, the current Minister for Education and Culture, and the BVIOC was able to secure the support required from the Government of the Virgin Islands to initiate the official request. The BVIOC worked with the Ministry of Education and Culture to “be duly authorized and/or licensed to use and to authorise and/or sublicense the use of the Territorial Song,” as set out in the IOC’s National Anthem Authorisation document.

“Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands” originally was composed in 2012 by Virgin Islanders, Ms. Ayana Hull and her brother, Mr. Kareem Nelson Hull in response to a competition for a Territorial Song launched by Walwyn, the then Minister for Education and Culture. The song, which was originally arranged by Mr. Howard John, was officially adopted as the Territorial Song by resolution of the House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands on July 24, 2012. As a British Overseas Territory “God Save the Queen” is the VI’s official national anthem.

The rousing, 80-second, orchestral version of the Territorial Song, requested by the BVIOC and approved by the Ministry for use by the IOC, was arranged by Mr. Alton Bertie, an Elmore Stoutt High School alumnus who graduated in the field of Film Scoring and Song Writing from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.

Click to listen to the score for the Territorial Song by Mr. Alton Bertie.

Newly established BVIOC Athletes’ Commission to host free workshop

The BVI Olympic Committee has established an Athletes’ Commission (BVIOCAC) which will represent the athletes and teams of the Virgin Islands who compete in major international games and competitions.

The BVIOCAC is part of the worldwide network of Athletes’ Commissions which communicates regularly with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission created to serve as a link between the athletes and the IOC and to support and protect clean sport.

The BVIOCAC’s mission is to represent all sports with a national federation affiliated with the BVIOC “to recognize the voice of BVI athletes and maximize support of athletes through Olympic Solidarity and other programs to increase participation and improve performance at the CAC Games, Commonwealth Games, PanAm Games, and Olympic Games.”

“We want to be a resource for all of the national federations and their athletes as they prepare to compete at regional, continental and international events,” said Ashley Kelly, Chairperson, BVIOCAC. “The Virgin Islands’ Athletes’ Commission will represent the interests of the national athletes and teams whose feedback on their experiences at major competitions will help shape the decisions of governing bodies be it the BVI Olympic Committee, National Federations, International Federations or the International Olympic Committee.”

The members of the BVIOCAC are required to be athletes who have competed at major international competitions. The current members appointed by the BVIOC and who will sit for a four-year term are Ashley Kelly (Athletics) Chairperson, Joe Chapman (Squash) Secretary, Shamora Penn (Softball) Public Relations Officer, Chantel Malone (Athletics) Athlete Initiatives, Kyron McMaster (Athletics) Athlete Initiatives and Eldred Henry (Athletics) Athlete Initiatives. The BVIOCAC will be represented at the BVIOC’s board of Executives.

The objectives of the Commission are to be accessible to all the national federations’ athletes competing at regional and international levels – whether as an individual or as a team – and to consider issues related to the athletes so they can provide advice to the BVIOC. The BVIOCAC will also actively engage athletes with initiatives and projects that protect and support clean athletes on and off the field of play.

The first BVIOCAC initiative is a workshop on Sports Psychology: “The Mental Approach to On-Field Success” which will take place at 7:00pm on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

The free, 60 – 90 minutes virtual zoom meeting will feature Dr. Margaret Ottley Ph.D., M.S., M.A., B.A.; CMPC, FELLOW-AASP, a Trinidadian Native, who is one of the most sought after sports performance psychologist. Dr. Ottley worked at 4 Olympics, 1 with USA Track and Field (’08), 2 with Trinidad (’04, ’12) where Team Trinidad won its most Olympic Medals to date, and Rio ’16 where she worked with individual athletes including Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad (TTO only medalist in ‘Rio). The discussion will be moderated by Kyron McMaster, the VI’s Commonwealth Gold Medalist, and IAAF Diamond League Champion in the 400mH.

Topics in the discussion include Visualization, Goal-setting, Building Confidence (Self-Talk Techniques), and Overcoming Mental Block with additional material provided for athletes to apply to training and competition. The workshop is designed to be interactive and to provide practical tools to manage the mental aspect of performance. It will help athletes learn useful techniques to prepare mentally for training and competition.

The workshop is open to all athletes, parents, and coaches who can register through the following link: https://bit.ly/MentalZoom or via email sent to athletescommission@bviolympics.org.

New dates for Tokyo 2020 creates certainty, eases pressure

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the new dates for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on March 30 which now will be celebrated from July 23 to August 8, 2021 and the Paralympic Games will be celebrated from August 24 until September 5, 2021.

These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee along with National Olympic Committee representatives from around the world attended a video conference on March 27 and were solicited for any comments and concerns. The new dates – exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020) – were decided based on three main considerations:

  1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
  2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
  3. The global international sports calendar.

The new dates for Tokyo 2020 will ease the pressure on organisers of qualification events and enable them to reschedule competitions once the COVID-19 impacts can be assessed and restrictions reduced without compromising athletes’ health. International Federations are also requested to only confirm upcoming qualification events in their respective calendars once they can guarantee fair access and fair and appropriate preparation for the competing athletes and teams. The IOC President, Thomas Bach hosted a conference call with the Global Network of Athletes’ Commission Representatives on Tuesday, March 31 to layout these decisions.

All athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged. This is a result of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo, in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.

“The BVI Olympic Committee continues to stand by our qualified athletes and hopefuls for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games which now will be held in the Summer of 2021,” said Penn. “Extensions from Olympic Solidarity for financing programmes such as Olympic Scholarships for Athletes for Tokyo 2020 means that we will be able to keep up with the monthly payments to our athletes as well as top it up with the sponsorship money from iForex. Panam Sports has also reached out to us and we are in discussions on how they can support the BVI and our athletes on the road to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Games.”

“I am in direct communication with all of our athletes who have Tokyo 2020 in their sights and can help them with answering or flagging any issues relating to the preparations for the Games,” said Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott. “So far, we are on a positive trajectory and working on readjusting our preparation timelines for the new dates of the Summer Olympic Games.”

Tokyo 2020 postponement sees spirit of resilience and cooperation dominate global response

The postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games will remain in Tokyo – PHOTO: Yoshikazu Sekiguchi

The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “accelerating”. There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC said that while the postponement was an understandable outcome of the talks and the current pandemic, the focus of the BVIOC will turn to supporting the athletes and any impact the delay may have on their psyche and preparations.

“Moving the dates to an unknown time in the future is hard on the athletes but this is not the first time that our athletes have had to face adverse situations and we will be doing our utmost to support them and to ease the strain of preparing for the future,” said Mr. Penn. The BVIOC provides a monthly training scholarship and has also secured sponsorship from iForex to assist VI’s Tokyo 2020 athletes in their preparations for the Games.

“While initially I was disappointed with the IOC’s decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games, on reflection I’m thankful that they are putting our health first,” said Chantel Malone, the Lima 2019 Pan American Games VI long jump gold medalist. “With everything going on, the restrictions definitely put a limitation on training with regards to what we can and can’t do so, all in all, postponing these Summer Olympics is for the greater good and will give us more time to be even more prepared to produce awesome results. Every cloud has it’s silver lining!” Tokyo 2020 will be Malone’s first Olympic Games.

“It’s unfortunate that these 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been postponed because we have been training so hard in preparation but we understand the decision to put our health and safety first and we’ll be making the most of the extra time available to get ready for this important competition,” said Eldred Henry, the VI’s shot putter whose first Olympic appearance was at Rio 2016.

“It’s disappointing after all this time training and competing in what few meets we had in the lead up to the Games in July but we will overcome this hurdle and look to the future as we continue with our preparations. We just hope that our sponsors, the VI government and our supporters continue to stand by our side during this extended period,” said Kyron McMaster, the VI’s Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles gold medalist who will make his Olympic debut at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Games.

Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 in consultation with Mr. Penn remains in constant contact with the Virgin Islands’ athletes confirmed or hoping to attend the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and will continue to relay information received from the IOC and the organisers as they decide on the new dates and associated changes.

“I have an open line of communication with all our Tokyo 2020 confirmed and hopeful athletes and our real time conversation enables me to keep them up to date with correct information from the official channels. Right now, the news has been quite hard on them as they have been as focused as they can to compete in their best form in July. They are recalibrating but overall they are in a positive mindset and are determined to work with the outcome of the IOC’s decision to postpone and plan to make the most of the extended time to train hard. It is also really important that the support and encouragement behind them continues,” said Chef Harrigan-Scott.

The global community has rallied to the IOC’s news with three major Tokyo 2020 sponsors – Proctor & Gamble, Intel and Coca-Cola – all reaffirming their commitment to the Games. Organisers of major Games including the 2021 World Athletics Championships slated for August 6 – 15 in Eugene, Oregon and the Commonwealth Youth Games Trinbago 2021 scheduled for August 1 – 7 in Trinidad & Tobago have already communicated their willingness to shift their events to accommodate the new date for Tokyo 2020.

Panam Sports in a press release also stated that it will maintain all of its aid programs for athletes, coaches and National Olympic Committees. They also said that once the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are defined, Panam Sports will work together with the IOC, the International Federations, the NOCs and the athletes to be able to adjust the schedules for the competitions that follow, in particular the Junior Pan American Games of Cali 2021 that were scheduled between June 5-20.

IOC agrees to set up scenario-planning for the Olympic Games 2020

To safeguard the health of all involved and to contribute to the containment of COVID-19, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Sunday, March 22 that the IOC will step up its scenario-planning for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games. This step will allow better visibility of the rapidly changing development of the health situation around the world and in Japan. It will serve as the basis for the best decision in the interest of the athletes and everyone else involved.

Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Chef de Mission Tokyo 2020 in consultation with Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC has remained in constant touch on the matter with Eldred Henry, Kyron McMaster and Chantel Malone, the 3 Virgin Islands’ athletes confirmed to attend the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan.

“These indeed are uncertain times and while the outcome of the discussions between the IOC, Tokyo 2020 organisers and stake holders is an unknown and while meets and important competitions in the lead up to the Games have been impacted, our athletes are continuing with their training as best they can to be as ready as they can be. It’s not an ideal situation but at this time, we can only continue with the preparations and encourage our athletes to take the necessary precautions to safeguard their health while preparing as if the Games will go ahead until we are advised otherwise,” said Mrs. Harrigan-Scott.

“All NOCs and international federations are being notified of decisions as they are made and we in turn are working with our Chef de Mission to keep our stake holders informed. The local federations are also kept abreast of developments through their international governing bodies. We have spoken with the BVI Athletics Association and have noted that the biggest concern for our athletes for now is the potential medical risks but we are in agreement that we will await the outcome of the IOC’s decision and will address any of the athletes’ questions and concerns at that time,” said Mr. Penn.

On the one hand, there are significant improvements in Japan where the people are warmly welcoming the Olympic flame. This could strengthen the IOC’s confidence in the Japanese hosts that the IOC could, with certain safety restrictions, organise Olympic Games in the country whilst respecting its principle of safeguarding the health of everyone involved.

On the other hand, there is a dramatic increase in cases and new outbreaks of COVID-19 in different countries on different continents. This led the EB to the conclusion that the IOC needs to take the next step in its scenario-planning.

A number of critical venues needed for the Games could potentially not be available anymore. The situations with millions of nights already booked in hotels is extremely difficult to handle, and the international sports calendar for at least 33 Olympic sports would have to be adapted. These are just a few of many, many more challenges.

Therefore, further to the study of different scenarios, it would need the full commitment and cooperation of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese authorities, and of all the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). It would also require commitment from, and collaboration with, the Rights-Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) and our TOP Partner sponsors, as part of their continued and valued support to the Olympic Movement, as well as cooperation from all the Games’ partners, suppliers and contractors. It is in this spirit of the Olympic stakeholders’ shared commitment to the Olympic Games, and in light of the worldwide deteriorating situation, that the IOC EB has initiated the next step in the IOC’s scenario-planning.

The IOC will, in full coordination and partnership with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Japanese authorities and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks, and greatly appreciates the solidarity and partnership of the NOCs and IFs in supporting the athletes and adapting Games planning.

The IOC EB emphasised that a cancellation of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would not solve any of the problems or help anybody. Therefore, cancellation is not on the agenda.

After the EB meeting on Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach wrote to the global athlete community to provide them with an explanation of the IOC’s approach. In the letter, Bach stated once more that safeguarding the health of everyone involved and contributing to contain the virus is the fundamental principle, and said: “Human lives take precedence over everything, including the staging of the Games. The IOC wants to be part of the solution. Therefore we have made it our leading principle to safeguard the health of everyone involved, and to contribute to containing the virus. I wish, and we all are working for this, that the hope so many athletes, NOCs and IFs from all five continents have expressed will be fulfilled: that at the end of this dark tunnel we are all going through together, not knowing how long it is, the Olympic flame will be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

iFOREX to sponsor BVI Olympic Committee in National team’s journey to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) has signed an agreement with iFOREX – a leading global financial broker – to act as sponsor of the Virgin Islands (UK) Olympic team on its journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

A spokesperson for Formula Investment House Ltd, operator of the http://www.iFOREX.com website, said: “As a company licensed in the British Virgin Islands, we have first-hand awareness of the spirit and potential of this exceptional team and we are proud and excited to support the athletes in their remarkable efforts to bring home the Territory’s first Olympic medal.”

The BVI Olympic Team will most likely consist of up to four athletes. Two athletes, namely Kyron McMaster in the Men’s 400m hurdles and Eldred Henry in the Men’s shot put have qualified for the Olympics already and a number of other athletes are seeking to qualify over the next four months. These include Chantel Malone, the 2019 PanAm gold medallist in the long jump and Ashley Kelly, who made her Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 400m sprint.

It is believed that the partnership marks the first occasion an investment firm has sponsored a National Olympic Committee and iFOREX joins athletic brand Puma as one of the BVIOC’s two official sponsors.

For over 23 years, iFOREX has remained one of the largest and most respected firms in the Fintech industry, emerging early on as an industry leader in technological innovation and with a dedication to trust and excellence.

“By lining up with Puma, known for its history of performance and athletic support, we’re proud to help the BVI’s athletes to represent their country with devotion and determination,” said an iFOREX’s spokesperson.

Throughout the sponsorship, iFOREX will show its support of the BVI Olympic Team with online content chronicling the team’s journey from their training camps to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as the team’s results, which will be available to both clients and staff all over the world at iFOREX News.

Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC commented on the partnership, saying: “The BVI Olympic Committee is delighted that a respectable and successful investment firm such as iFOREX has identified the potential of the BVI team for Tokyo 2020 and we believe that together we can make history and see a first Olympic medal won by an athlete competing for the Virgin Islands.”

First Come First Serve Tokyo 2020 online ticket sales to launch on December 9

Online ticket sales for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games will go live in the early hours of Monday, December 9, 2019. The Games will take place in Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020.

Tickets for Tokyo 2020 are only available to BVI residents through the Territory’s approved retailer, Kingdom Sports Group via online application on www.kingdomsg.com.

Ticket sales are strictly controlled by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) and the BVI Olympic Committee will not have any tickets for sale.

“With record demand and not enough tickets, we have to manage client expectations,” said Daniel Beniston, Managing Director, Kingdom Sports Group. “We will launch First Come First Serve ticket sales on 9th December in conjunction with TOCOG approval.

“Traffic flow suggests we will have a few thousand people from all the countries we are serving all coming at the same time. Anyone interested in attending the Games who doesn’t wish to purchase a package, this is the date to come onto our site.”

The launch of the ticket sale will take place at 2.00 in the morning and will feature a queue-it system where prospective clients will wait in an online queue.

Ticket and accommodation packages will also go on sale on December 9. Prospective attendees should note that airfare is not included in all of the packages.

“At this stage the majority of 5 Star accommodation is close to selling out, with limited 4 Star accommodation remaining but we have a good stock of 3 Star accommodation,” said Beniston.

Anyone wishing to attend the Games is warned not to attempt to buy tickets outside of the designated official sales channels. A notice on the Tokyo 2020 website sets out the following advice:

“To avoid involvement in any criminal activities such as fraud, you are strongly advised not to purchase tickets from any source other than official ticket sales channels (i.e. Official Ticket Website, Official Ticket Box Offices, or Authorised Ticket Reseller). It is possible that tickets sold on unofficial channels such as auction websites may be invalid or counterfeit tickets. The Terms and Conditions for the Purchase and Use of Tokyo 2020 Tickets specifies that entry to venues will be denied to individuals in possession of a ticket purchased from unofficial channels. Please take the utmost caution to ensure that you do not fall victim to illegal ticket reselling, acts of fraud, etc.”

Eldred Henry Photo: Todd VanSickel

Two of the VI’s senior athletes have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Games. Eldred Henry was the first VI athlete to secure a spot at upcoming Summer Olympics with his throw of 21.47 in the shot put on May 25, 2019 at the NCAA Division II Championships in Kingsville, Texas. The throw, which is Henry’s personal best achievement to date, exceeded the Tokyo 2020 qualifying mark of 21.10 and set a new NCAA and national record.

Kyron McMaster

Kyron McMaster surpassed the qualifying mark of 48.9 in the 400m hurdles when he crossed the line with a time of 48.33 at the Paris Diamond League 2019 on August 24.

Other Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopefuls including Chantel Malone (long jump) and Ashely Kelly (400m) have until June 29, 2020 to qualify for the Games. The qualifying mark for women’s long jump is 6.82 and the qualifying time for the women’s 400m is 51.35.

BVIOC free sports clinic stepping stone to promote grass roots development in the community

The BVI Olympic Committee organized and ran a free sports clinic for the community at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on Saturday, October 12 as part of celebratory activities to mark Chantel Malone’s historic gold medal win in long jump at the Lima 2019.

The clinic took place the day after a ceremony recognizing Chantel’s achievement of becoming the British Virgin Islands’ first Pan American Games medalist. The interactive session was presented by Tahesia Harrigan-Scott and Joey Scott of Tru Fit Athletics, Miami and featured the BVI’s elite track and field athletes, Chantel Malone, Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles), Eldred Henry (shot put) and Ashley Kelly (400m) and Dr. Harlan Vanterpool, NHI Medical Director.

“This clinic was a great launch pad for executing grass roots engagement and bringing to life the practical elements of the long term athlete development programme,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The four BVI professional track and field athletes worked with a captivated audience for the whole morning, interacting with the youngsters in the community, advising and inspiring them to work towards developing their athletic potential.”

The panel of professional athletes are all beneficiaries of the BVIOC Elite Athlete Programme which provides financial support to help them prepare throughout the year for major games. Each of the panelists shared their personal experiences, insights and practical tips on a wide range of topics during the indoor discussion forum and out on the track and field. Attendees heard what it takes to make it in a selected sports and learned more about the dual purpose of college attendance with recommendations to focus primarily on the academics followed by sports as an avenue to excel in a particular discipline.

The most important takeaway for many was the advice to set a personal goal and identify the support base to help achieve the goals. Out on the track and field, attendees loved the ‘form and technique’ sessions provided by the professional athletes – with each participant coming away with something new to apply to their execution.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool’s engaging explanation about what anti-doping actually means and his conversation on testing and reveal of the testing kit used helped to deliver a better understanding among the young athletes on the reasons, rules and regulations as promoted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

“The BVIOC sees this clinic as just the start of another way of promoting sport for all and pushing the LTAD program in the community,” said Mr. Penn. “The BVIOC has 16 National Federation members, several of whom have athletes and teams who are on the professional circuit and who can help to build our pool of athletes through similar engagement. We have held two named Sports Festivals on Olympic Day with interactive sports stations set up by the National Federations but we now want to evolve these stations into actual clinics within the Sports Festival as a means of educating and enthusing the public of all ages. We also hope that it becomes an opportunity for the coaches to spot potential talent from within the community and open up a pathway for the development of such talent.”

The Olympic Day Sports Festival is slated to take place on Saturday, June 27, 2020.

View the BVIOC free sports clinic photo album on Facebook