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.

Community engages in sports at inaugural BVI Beach Games

A cross section of the Virgin Islands’ community attended the inaugural BVI Beach Games which was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee and four national federations at Brandywine Bay beach on June 27, 2021.

In keeping with the tag line, “Unity through Sports”, residents of all ages and abilities took advantage of the opportunity to try the free sporting activities presented by rugby, volleyball, football and sailing and joined in a pick-up game or registered a team to take part in mini tournaments.

“The feedback from all involved with organising this first BVI Beach Games is positive,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee. “While we had hoped that more people would have joined in, we understand that many had changed their plans to come to the beach when they woke up to rain showers in the early morning. Overall, we’re pleased with the event and feel it was a success with a good uptake of the sports that were on offer.”

“This is such a great day! We were a bit put off by yesterday’s rain but so glad that we decided to come out and bring the kids to have fun at the beach. We’re really enjoying the whole thing, including the food!” said one participant attending with her husband and two children.

The BVIOC’s primary mission in facilitating the games is to stimulate the community’s interest in engaging in sports and getting physically active but the ultimate goal is sports development and to foster interest and growth in the disciplines that are played as a competitive beach sports at regional and international level.

“Rugby has already sent national teams to compete in Florida and elsewhere. As the other national federations see an increase in interest from their members in playing competitively in the beach version of their sport, there’s potential to develop national teams that could then play against our neighbours from the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico who would be invited to join in the winter 2022 edition,” said Penn. “The mid-term target is to host the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 as a sports tourism product provided the COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable.”

The BVI Beach Games included music by DJ Cuffy, fundraising cash bars run by the federations for rugby, volleyball and football, food for sale by Brandywine Estate and ice cream by Icy Treats. Recycling of disposables was managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network was also set up as a charitable community out-reach element.

The June edition was made possible through collaboration between the BVIOC and volunteers of the 4 national federations and was sponsored and supported by ZBVI Radio, Nagico Insurance Ltd, Roadtown Wholesale Ltd distributors of Coca Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, VISAR, Public Works Department and Solid Waste Department.

The beach games took place the weekend after the traditional symbolic Olympic Day run, walk and cycle events held on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 19.

More photos of the event can be viewed on the BVIOC page on FaceBook

Olympic Day June 23, 2021 – #StrongerTogether

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

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

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

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

The film can be watched here.

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

Online fan engagement

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

Olympic Day around the world

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

Olympic Virtual Series

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

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

“Lausanne Capitale Olympique” run

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

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

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

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

Olympic Day celebrates the revival of the Olympic Games

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

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

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

More information about Olympic Day can be found here.

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BVIOC distributes Panam Sports coach funding to national federations

BVIOC presents coach hiring funds from Panam Sports to its national federations
BVI National Federations receive coach hiring funds from Panam Sports distributed by the BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee distributed cheques totaling $100,000 from Panam Sports to 14 of its member federations on June 26, 2020. The funds are part of Panam Sports’ special project for the hiring of coaches in support of sports development in the Americas.

The 14 national federations which currently are active and which are recipients of the coaching funds include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing, Softball/Baseball, Squash, Swimming and Volleyball.

“Coaching is a fundamental part of the success of any athlete or team and the development of sports,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The BVIOC applied to receive its allocation of $100,000 from Panam Sports which earmarked the money specifically for the hiring of coaches. The BVIOC and its national federations are very appreciative of the funding which is yet another demonstration of Panam Sports’ continued commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports across its 41 member nations which includes the Virgin Islands.”

The funding for coaches is one of the latest tangible resources Panam Sports has made available to the BVIOC and its member federations. Sports and athletes receive the direct benefits which the BVIOC apply for whether it’s through a donation of training equipment, funds for repairs to facilities – including the replacement of the Mondo track at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds or through development initiatives such as coach training sessions.

Panam Sports is also engaged with all athletes across the continent with its ongoing virtual support sessions featuring professional experts in all aspects of sports both physical and psychological. The virtual sessions were introduced as part of the organizations’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and their training and competition programmes in the lead up to the now rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

About Panam Sports

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established on August 8th, 1948 and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the continental Association of the NOCs of the Americas. In 2017 the organization was rebranded as Panam Sports.

Its principal objects are the celebration and conduct of the Pan American Games and the promotion, development and protection of sport, as well as the Olympic Movement, in the Americas through its member NOCs. The current President, Neven Ilic, has held the post since 2017.

New date for BVIOC community walks to mark Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee has rescheduled the community walks to mark Olympic Day to now take place on Saturday, July 4, 2020 with no changes to the original locations and registration time of 5:30am.

“The air quality forecast for Saturday, June 27 was cause for concern and after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer and the walk organisers, we decided that it was in the best interest of all participants to reschedule the Olympic Day Community Walks to take place at the same time next Saturday, July 4,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We realise that this may cause some disruption to plans but we would like to see more persons able to join in the walks in their neighbourhood and to move and stay active and encourage folks to mark the new date in their calendars.”

The BVIOC in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

Registration for the walks in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay; Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda and the Claudia Creque Education Center in Anegada.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVIOC organises community walks to mark Olympic Day

Simone Foster, an annual participant, celebrates the end of an Olympic Day walk in the Virgin Islands

The BVI Olympic Committee in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands on Saturday, June 27, 2020 to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

The community walks will take place in lieu of the annual interactive Sports Festival which officially have taken place since 2017 to mark Olympic Day.

“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the BVIOC to rethink its programme of an interactive discussion session and mini sports clinics planned for the 2020 Sports Festival and to organize an activity that would be compliant with the current local health protocols and social distancing measures” said Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC. “With our low rate of infection and no current active cases, the proposal to host regulated walks in communities throughout the Districts met with approval from the Chief Medical Officer. The walks will start as early in the morning as curfew restrictions allow to try and beat the heat and will follow easy routes so as to be manageable by all ages and abilities.”

Registration for the walks will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

Hive of activity at 2nd annual Olympic Day Sports Festival

International Olympic Day was marked on Saturday, June 22nd with the 2nd annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds. The morning of interactive events to promote the Olympic Day pillars to move, learn and discover was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture.

National Federations set up stations around the grounds where they staged demo sessions and invited attendees of the Sports Festival to join in. There was full and enthusiastic uptake in the sports as presented by archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, rugby, softball/baseball, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball with children and adults alike trying their hand at something new.

Sailing and squash had information stands featuring the equipment of their sport with each of the coaches respectively encouraging hands-on engagement with the sailing optimist on display and with the rackets and balls. Information on anti-doping and the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organisation was also available from Doping Control Officers.

“The response from the National Federations this year was exceptional and we could not have hosted such a successful event without their full participation,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The International Olympic Committee had encouraged NOCs to ramp up activities this year to extend beyond the traditional Olympic Day walk/run and to promote the concept of getting active as a way of life regardless of age and ability. I am pleased that the BVIOC was ahead of the curve with this idea as we have been promoting interactive engagement since Olympic Day 2012 when we hosted the event at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The festival also provides the perfect platform for supporting our Long Term Athlete Development Programme.”

Following welcome remarks by Mr. Roy Barry, 2nd Vice President of the BVIOC and the reading of the Olympic Day Message from the President of the IOC, Mr. Thomas Bach, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, Minister for Education and Culture recognized the major achievements for athletes and teams as provided by some of the National Federations. Certificates of acknowledgement were given for distribution to the named athletes in athletics, football, rugby, sailing, softball/baseball and volleyball.

The Honourable Minister encouraged all athletes to stay the course and to continue to achieve results that they can be proud of.

Olympic Day was also selected as the appropriate occasion to officially announce the four athletes who have qualified to compete at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games from July 26th through August 11th. Naming senior track and field athletes and one sailor, Honourable Neville Smith, 1st Vice President, BVIOC congratulated Chantel Malone (long jump), Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles) and Eldred Henry (shot put) on their outstanding achievements in qualifying meets as well as 17-year old, Thad Lettsome who was awarded a universality place in the men’s laser event. The two sports’ disciplines are qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

On the heels of the announcement, Honourable Wheatley stated that the Ministry of Education and Culture has awarded checks amounting to $24,000 for senior athlete, Kyron McMaster for his gold medal wins at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the 2018 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC), Championships. Chantel Malone was also named as a recipient of a check for $9,000 for her silver medal win at the 2018 CAC Games.

“The Government has committed to paying our senior athletes for podium finishes at major international competitions,” said Honourable Wheatley. “This award is a ‘thank you’ as well as an incentive to stay committed to putting in the hard work and focus on winning a medal.” He went on to joke that the current roster of athletes was on track to bankrupting the government’s coffers.

At the invitation of Ms. Sabinah Clement, Athlete Representative, BVIOC, 3 athletes stepped forward to share their experiences. A volleyball player since the age of 12, Ms. Sharonda Pickering spoke of her route to becoming one of the best middle players in the sport in the NCAA conference, helping her school to conference and national championships.

Mr. Kenard Dawson who was home for the Summer, explained how he started his baseball career as a young boy playing softball with coach and VISBA President, Terrence Chinnery before going on to become catcher for the team at Georgia Premier Academy High School and earning a 4 Year Scholarship at Grambling State University, Statesboro, Georgia.

Ms. Beyonce Defreitas who just completed her freshman year at University of Central Florida, is a 100m and 200m sprinter and she closed out the opening remarks with a talk through of qualifying for the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Carifta Games and the IAAF World Under 20 Championships and competing at NCAA Division 1 events. Ms. Defreitas encouraged all the young aspiring athletes to follow their dreams and to be strong in their self-belief and confidence in their abilities.

Olympic Day was established in 1948 as an annual occasion where everyone everywhere can get together in their communities, whatever their age, ability or disability, to celebrate the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship and also celebrate the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.

The 2019 Olympic Day Sports Festival was sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Dasani water, Powerade and Coca Cola products distributed by Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, and MB’s Ice

Click to view the Olympic Day Sports Festival album on FaceBook

Community invited to 2nd annual Olympic Day Sports Festival

The BVI Olympic Committee, supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports will host its second annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturday, June 22.

The Sports Festival, marking the globally celebrated international Olympic Day, aims to encourage the community to get physically active by promoting the Olympic message to “move, learn and discover”.

The morning will feature interactive stations set up by National Sporting Federations with opportunities for everybody of all ages and abilities to try out a sport. Adults and children alike will be able to test their skills and find out more about archery, athletics, basketball, football, rugby, sailing, softball/baseball, squash, swimming, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball with a view to finding a sport that ignites an interest and to get active in their daily life.

Recently trained Doping Control Officers (DCOs) will be on hand to explain more about anti-doping in sports. Information will be provided about the Long Term Athlete Development programme and the importance of incorporating physical activity as part of a regular routine to minimize the risks of non-communicable diseases. DYAS will also have information on its Summer programme for 13 – 18 year olds.

During the brief opening of the Sports Festival, the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, the Minister for Education, Culture and Sports will recognize the major achievements of national athletes and teams as provided by the National Federations.

On this day, the Honourable Neville Smith, 1st VP of the BVIOC will also announce the senior athletes who have so far qualified to compete in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games which will take place in Peru from July 26 – August 11.

Free Olympic Day tee shirts will be handed out by the BVIOC as well as complimentary water, chilled courtesy of MBs Ice.

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 and Friendship and also celebrate the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.