Olympic Day celebrated with National Federations and a focus on Rio 2016

Olympic Day 2016 DSC00314

Runners on BVI Olympic Day 2016. Photo: BVIOC

Adults and children kicked off Olympic Day in the VI with an early morning run in Virgin Gorda on Saturday, June 25. In Tortola, a mix of all ages came out in the afternoon to celebrate the occasion at the Tortola Sports Club by watching demonstrations in rugby, archery, taekwondo, squash and having a go at each of the sports in advance of the symbolic 2-mile run through Road Town.

Representatives for the national federations for Rugby, Archery, Taekwondo and Squash also shared information on the sports and encouraged attendees to sign up and get moving with a new activity.

Rio 2016 sailing hopeful, Chris Brockbank joined the Royal BVI Yacht Club to speak about the efforts he and his teammate, Alec Anderson had undertaken in their quest to qualify for this Summer Olympic Games. Whilst they did not meet the Rio 2016 qualification, Chris reiterated their commitment to pursuing qualification for Tokyo 2020. Club manager Tamsin Rand also spoke about the youth sailing programme.

The VI Swimming Federation represented by the president and members of the youth swimming team were also in attendance.

Ephraim Penn, president of the BVIOC gave a brief history of the BVI Olympic Committee and presented one of the founding members, Reynold ‘Rey’ O’Neal, OBE with a commemorative photo book of the tribute evening hosted for him by the BVIOC earlier in the year.

In keeping with the goal of Olympic Day to get the young involved and engaged in sports, Penn also spoke about the Long Term Athletes Development programme hosted by the BVIOC. The series of LTAD workshops will equip coaches with the resources to identify and develop promising youth athletes with a view to training them for major games such as the Olympics.

Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, Stephanie Russ-Penn followed with an update on the preparations for Rio 2016 confirming that the VI’s qualified track runners, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott (100m) and Ashley Kelly (200m) will be joined by young swimmer, Elinah Phillip (50m Freestyle) who will compete as part of the universality invitation.

Russ-Penn then went on to reveal the outerwear for the Team BVi athletes participating in major games highlighting the integration of the Vigilante in the design.

Rounding off with information on attending the summer Games, Mark Chapman, Treasurer, BVIOC said, “Rio 2016 promises to be an exciting occasion and it’s not too late to get event tickets and support Team BVI in Brazil. The BVIOC has tickets for residents and anyone else who has a connection to the territory. Recent research also shows airfare via Panama is available starting at $1006 so anyone interested in getting tickets can complete an online request on bviolympics.org or contact the BVIOC office on 494 6920. The summer Games take place August 5 – 21.”

The afternoon set up at the sports club included tips and massages by La Ambiance Spa and an information booth run by the VI branch of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO).

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and Red Cross volunteers were on hand to ensure the safety of the runners and walkers. Roadtown Wholesale distributed Dasani water and Powerade to participants along the route and at the sports club.

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.

In his Olympic Day message to people around the world, IOC President, Thomas Bach said, “Olympic Day is for everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability. The important thing is to get the couch potatoes off the couch. Although Olympic Day commemorates an historic event, its goals are aimed at the future and particularly at young people. Olympic Day is an opportunity to remind people that sport is not just for watching. We want to inspire all people to get active and to have fun. Thank you for doing your part by getting off the couch. Please encourage others to do the same — not just on Olympic Day, but as part of a healthier and happier life. Enjoy the day, and please keep the spirit of Olympic Day alive throughout the year.”

VI Rugby XV overcome visiting USVI team


Photo: Todd VanSickle/BVI Beacon

Photo: Todd VanSickle/BVI Beacon

In a game not for the faint of heart, the local Rugby Union XV finally overcame The Privateers, a visiting team from St Thomas, USVI 34-22, in a friendly match on Saturday April 23, 2016 at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground, Tortola.

A brace of tries from Noel Maxwell finally broke the resistance, if not the determination, of the visitors as he scored either side of the half time break. However, for the majority of the first period the St Thomas team had been in the ascendancy, looking more organised and eager to tackle hard at every opportunity.

They had, in fact, raced into a 12-0 lead, scoring first after a series of recycled ball and rolling mauls along the home sides score line and then intercepting a sloppy pass as the VI team tried to clear the ball out of their own 22 to double their advantage.

With many new players in the team, it took a while for things to gel for the hosts, but Luuck Soeters finally got the home team on the score board, sliding in under the posts after a great placement kick from Roan Thornton put them within a yard of the opposition’s score line. Thornton missed the attempted extra points for a conversion, but moment’s later more concerted pressure, especially after showing great strength in the scrum, saw the VI score again through Stuart Cullen.

Maxwell then scored his two tries either side of a St Thomas penalty to make it 22-15 and a Mark Simmons conversion made it 24-15.

A scintillating run by Franklyn Victor, from deep inside his own half, made it 29-15 and although Simmons missed that conversion attempt, it mattered not as Tom Chapman broke through the St Thomas defense to score another try and make it 34-15.

St Thomas did get a late consolation score, but resolute defending made sure they could not get back into the game, with the final score 34-22.

“We started a bit jittery and took time to settle down,” commented Coach Sherlock Solomon. “Some of the players were late, but once the right team was on the pitch they found their footing and put it together. We exposed lots of our younger players so they would get experience playing at this level and under pressure, some lost their cool at times, but overall they all played well.”

Cedar & St George’s win Touch Rugby Championships


Photo: Charlie E. Jackson /VINO

Photo: Charlie E. Jackson /VINO

Both Cedar International School and St George’s High School were victorious when the BVI Rugby Union hosted the U15 and U17 Touch Rugby High School Championships on Friday April 22, 2016 on the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds in Road Town.

In the U15’s final, St George’s raced into a 2-0 lead, but were then pegged back by a tenacious Seventh Day Adventist team. However, despite some nervous moments, St George’s held firm and increased the lead to first 3-1, before holding on to win 4-3.

“In the lead up to the final we only had one little hiccup, but otherwise were looking good. The final was a little challenging, but we stood firm and got the win. We had both disciplined and fast breaks and the team executed the plans very well, so I must congratulate them,” commented St George’s Coach, Javon Carty.

On the road to the final, SDA beat Cedar School 9-2, St George’s beat ESHS 10-2 and Cedar 5-4, whilst SDA beat ESHS 10-1.

In the Under 17 final, Cedar survived a second-half come back from St George’s to run out 7-5 victors, which was almost a reversal of the score line from when the pair clashed in the day’s opening game (7-6 to St George’s).

“We kept our shape well and were well organised. The team kept their heads and knew when to move the ball, using the extra width to cause St George’s trouble and came out with the win,” noted Coach John Riley.

Cedar had also beaten ESHS 7-2 to clinch a place in the final, while St George’s had a 5-2 win over the same opposition.

BVI Rugby Union Development Coach, Sherlock Solomon, was very pleased with the day’s outcome. “The idea of using the bigger pitch area has proven a great success, we saw all the teams enjoy the extra space to pass the ball around more and also add some running skills,” he said.

Young Rugby players in training


Young Rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Young Rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Young rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic.

Over the years the schools programme has produced many youngsters and two years ago an Under 19 team took part in a tournament in Trinidad. Now Coach Sam Sherlock Solomon is establishing firm grassroots and the pressure is on the older players to keep their places.
“The young ones are coming forward and it’s definitely the way to go for the future,” commented Solomon. “This year is an Olympic year, but the BVI can’t compete in that as we are not full members of the International Rugby Board. However, there is a tournament taking place in the Dominican Republic and the Association plans on taking a young side down there.”

Also, a team from St Thomas will be in Road Town on Saturday, April 23 and the hard working youth will be up for selection.
SDA crowned U13 Schools Touch Rugby Champions

Elsewhere, the Seventh-day Adventist School were crowned U13 Touch Rugby Champions last Friday April 15, 2016 on the Softball Field in Road Town, after a 3-1 win over Francis Lettsome Primary School.

Both schools had beaten Cedar International teams to reach the final and in the match for the bronze medal, Cedar A beat Cedar B 6-1.

Referee Colin Campbell, who is also part of the next generation of rugby players and who has already made his senior debut, was impressed with what he had seen.

“SDA had a good disciplined team and stretched their line out very well. Francis Lettsome had a couple of chances to level the game, but couldn’t take them and SDA prevailed. All players are understanding the rules better and working out how to move the ball around by passing and supporting each other,” said Campbell.

McDonald also noted that all the teams that took part had fun and were definitely enjoying playing Rugby.

In other matches, Ebenezer Thomas Primary beat St George’s 3-2, Leonora Delville drew 3-3 with Enis Adams, before the top four clashed in the semi finals.

This coming Friday, April 22, 2016, Solomon will also be overseeing the U15 and U17 Rugby Schools Festival and hopes to see yet more improvements from his young charges.

“The next stage with that Festival will be getting them to play ‘contact’ rugby,” said Solomon. “Also it has been cut down to seven a side to give them more space, a chance to really show their skills and also improve their fitness.”

BVI benefits from Long Term Athlete Development and Physical Literacy workshop

Front row (l-r): Hon Myron V. Walwyn, Richard Way, BVIOC President, Ephraim Penn, LTAD Coordinator, Angeleta Bernard and 68 participants including physical education teachers, doctors from the BVI Health Services Authority, nurses, chairpersons and members of national sporting federations and personnel from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare attended a two-day workshop on Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and Physical Literacy from February 29 – March 1, 2016.

Front row (l-r): Hon Myron V. Walwyn, Richard Way, BVIOC President, Ephraim Penn, LTAD Coordinator, Angeleta Bernard and 68 participants attended a two-day workshop on Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and Physical Literacy from February 29 – March 1, 2016. Photo credit: BVIOC

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with Canada Sport for Life (CS4L), the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) and, with full endorsement from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare conducted a successful two day workshop on Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and Physical Literacy at the Fort Burt Hotel conference room on February 29 and March 1, 2016. Mr. Richard Way, CEO of Sport for Life Society, Canada was the facilitator.

At the Opening Ceremony Mr. Ephraim Penn, president, BVIOC, Hon. Myron V. Walwyn, Minister for Education & Culture and Ms. Ivy George, National Coordinator, Health Promotion Services, Ministry of Health and Social Development addressed the gathering.

The 68 participants comprised physical education teachers, doctors from the BVI Health Services Authority, nurses, chairpersons and members of national sporting federations and personnel from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Physical Literacy which means ‘having the fundamental movement and sport skills and motivation that enable individuals to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, while moving confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activities’, was of major interest to the participants.

The premise of the program is that it will pave the way for residents of the BVI to live a healthier and productive life that will help to manage the cost of health care.

Five sporting federations successfully submitted applications to benefit from the LTAD programme. Athletics, Rugby, Football, Tennis and Sailing will shortly embark on the planning of the multi-stage training, competition and recovery pathway for their sport.

Mr. Andy Bickerton of the BVI Football Association said, “The workshop was educational and very relevant. If we practice what we learnt and employ them in our sport, our athletes should be healthier and the occurrence of non- communicable diseases would lessen. It has pointed us in the right direction and we of the BVI Football Association will ensure that we work with participants instead of concentrating only on the elite players, in an effort to sustain our sport.”

Nurse Cherry-Ann George Smith of the BVI Health Services Authority said, “It is timely and applicable to what is being done with community healthcare. It is a means of primary prevention in non- communicable diseases and chronic ailments. I see where it may be used for all our clients. This has opened an avenue for networking with different sports. It was an eye opener and I am pleased to have been a part of the experience.”

“The workshop was informative and well structured,” said Mr. Elsworth Phillips, president of the BVI Swim Federation. “Mr. Richard Way made the concepts easy to understand. I now see where the BVI Swim Federation can partner with the sailing association with strength and conditioning, their swimming skills and water safety.”

Mrs. Angeleta Bernard, local coordinator of the LTAD, BVI was pleased with the enthusiasm of the participants and will be meeting with the committee, chaired by Mr. Penn to initiate the launch of LTAD, BVI and Physical Literacy in the national federations, schools and communities.

BVI Rugby Team narrowly defeated by Barbados


Photo courtesy of VINO


The BVI Rugby Team lost 17-15 to Barbados in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association south zone promotion/relegation clash at the A. O. Shirley Ground on Saturday November 7, 2015.

After a period of sustained pressure early in the first half, Rory Thornton opened the scoring for the Virgin Islands with a 30 yard penalty and went on to add a couple of conversions to his tally after both Thomas Wilson and Matt Holmes had scored to give the VI a 15-10 half time lead.

However, a fitter looking Barbadian team hit back strongly in the second half.

The VI were camped in the Barbados 22, but were unable to extend their lead before Kevin Carter scored an opportunist break away try, which he also converted to make it 17-15 to Barbados.

The VI came back strong with a prize of matches against the likes of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago up for grabs and got their chance to go back ahead with ten minutes to go.

Thornton though, would see a penalty kick from in front of the posts go wide and with it the last chance for the VI to win the game.

A bitterly disappointed VI Captain, Rory Thornton, was in a philosophical mood after the game. “We made them play our game for the best part of the game, we knew they had more individual talent, but the one thing we have been doing lately is coming together as a team and we did that really well today. Individually everyone had a great game, but as a pack we didn’t produce enough clean ball for the backs to exploit.”

Coach Sherlock “Solo” Solomon was heartbroken to see his team come so close to what would have been a famous victory. “It broke my heart!” he said.

“[It was] a game we clearly should have won, but lost by two points. We can take a lot from the game though, especially with the youngsters. The Forwards didn’t do as much as I hoped in providing the likes of Noel Maxwell and Austin Kiel opportunities. I think we were a little nervous at times and soft in defence, but when a game is that close it only takes one moment to win or lose it,” he said.

East End Stamps Authority As Rugby League Starts

By BVI Platinum

Photo: Provided

Photo: Provided

Hard hitting tackles were many during the opening of the first full contact three-team rugby league at Capoons Bay which saw a dominant performance by the East End Entertainers.

Despite a late start due to the lights being switched off, players and fans congregated to witness the history start to the 10-a-side league on Friday, July 3. The East Enders finished the first week unbeaten 2-0, defeating the Central Cockerels, 69-12 and the West End Warriors, 38-17.

However, the Central team pounded out a 22-12 victory in the opening game.

“It was a good start for us,” said East End captain, Donovan Staples. “We had about 800 spectators in attendance so we had to put on a good show for East End. We are playing for territorial bragging rights so we had to represent East End massive. We defended well and countered well through ball movement. Tonight we had no substitute and that is something we need to change going forward so our players can get some rest,”

Rugby Development Officer, Sherlock ‘Solo’ Solomon told BVI Platinum News that he is very pleased to have the league start in the BVI. “This is where we needed to go in the BVI to establish ourselves as a full member of the International Rugby Board. We know for sure on the island we have lots of folks who want to play, but in the IRB competition you have to have lived on the island for three years before you can play for the national team. Having said that, there are a number of persons who come on the island for short a period and sometimes longer periods, who want to play contact rugby,” Solomon said.

He went on to state that he is very pleased with the support for the league. “We saw a high standard of rugby and a number of under-19s. Some guys who have been coming to practice with the national team, who did not make the cut, got an opportunity to run on the field and participate in a real-game situation,” Solomon said.

Austin Keil takes top rugby player of the year award

By BVI  Platinum

From L-R: Austin Keil, player of the year; Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively. Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News

From L-R: Austin Keil, player of the year; Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News

Three of the top annual rugby awards presented by the BVI Rugby Football Union went to youth players led by Austin Keil who captured the player of the year, the most prestigious presented at the annual dinner which was held at Scrub Island last evening, June 27.

Keil, 18, of Cedar School, has had a break out season and scored the final try for the national team against Curacao in May.

“It feels pretty good and its just really nice to be here with all my friends who also won awards. And its really fun. Everyone on the team has been working really hard and it shows in the results at the end of the year,” Keil told BVI Platinum News.

He plans to attend university in California in the fall where he will try out froSanta Barbra rugby team.

Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively.

“It feels pretty good to have won this award,” Amparo stated.

He recalled the under-19 team’s encounter in Trinidad and Tobago and his experience gained playing for the national side.

Thomas said he recently started playing rugby and never missed a practice session.

“My fitness is really advanced thanks to rugby. The discipline I have learned has really helped me. I am around all the players with different cultures and different experiences; this has been a great learning experience for me,” Thomas stated.

Chairman of the Rugby Union, Ronan Kuczaj said rugby on the island has benefited from the emergence of younger players.

“All of our results have come form the under-19s. They had good performance in the Mexico 7s and more recently the three games in the 2015 North American Caribbean Rugby Association’s 15s. We have a good core of kids who have come through the under-19 program and school coaching sessions. They are the future and lifeblood of rugby in the BVI,” Kuczaj stated.

SDA retain Tag Rugby Championship!


Seventh Day Adventist captain, Keon Sampson fakes a pass to set up the winning try. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Seventh Day Adventist captain, Keon Sampson fakes a pass to set up the winning try. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

After a long hot day, it was “mission complete” for the Seventh- day Adventist Primary School as they successfully defended their BVI Rugby Association Tag Rugby title on Friday June 5, 2015 at the Old Recreation Ground in Road Town.

The final itself was a terse, tense affair with neither SDA nor their opponent Cedar “A” prepared to cede ground to the other in a mid field battle for supremacy.

Cedar School made the first breakthrough in the second half, but undeterred the SDA team kept going and got their reward when a slick move resulted in the equaliser. However, the score remained tied up until the final whistle and it wasn’t until deep into extra time that SDA scored the “golden try” to run out 2-1 winners.

Describing the winning moment, SDA captain, Keon Sampson was also full of praise for his team’s effort. “Everyone was playing good, but the winner, everyone was saying send the ball out wide, but I told the player who was tapping the ball to restart, just pass the ball to me. I faked a pass and then changed direction to give the ball to Isaiah Rhymer, who twisted, broke past a couple of them and scored the winner. It was awesome!”

SDA Coach, Melvin Knight was also a happy man. “When we started the day it wasn’t going so well, so I told them they had to play together and as a team. They listened and began holding a tight defensive line, well spread out across the field and then when they got their chance attacked quickly. In the end it was mission accomplished.”

Six teams began the day with the SDA commanding Group A, reaching the semi finals unbeaten, whilst in Group B, it was Cedar “B” finishing in pole position, having seen off the challenge from Enis Adams and Ivan Dawson Schools.

Francis Lettsome Primary almost caused upsets in the first Group “A” games with a 1-1 draw against Cedar and then suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat by SDA, but then SDA showed their intent to retain the Championship with a 4-2 mauling of Cedar “A”.

In Group “B”, Cedar B recorded a massive 10-2 victory over Enis Adams and a 3-0 win over Ivan Dawson.

The semi final clash between Cedar “A” and Cedar “B” also proved exciting as the school mates battled for at least bragging rights and when the dust all settled it was the “A’s” who moved on courtesy of a 3-2 win. However, the strength sapping heat and energy expended had the team looking ragged as they then wilted towards the end of the fateful final.

Rugby Association Youth Development Officer, Sherlock Sam “Solo” Solomon, put on another well organised event, despite a lack of obvious physical support from the Association, but with those who did help, Simon Knight and a few U19 Rugby players, the primary school teams were able to have a lot of fun, whilst playing some very competitive games and making some new friends.

“The day was rewarding as from the offset I noticed that the skill levels have gone up and the style of play is now suggesting that we should play only seven a side and not ten, to give them more room to express themselves further. SDA have been playing regularly and are really committed. Most of the team is in the same class at school and they have obviously worked hard to come here today and defend their title,” Mr Soloman stated.

BVI Rugby team secures third consecutive victory to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup League

By BVIPlatinum.com

BVI beats Curacao 19-0 to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup Photo: Todd VanSickle

BVI beats Curacao 19-0 to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup
Photo: Todd VanSickle

With three consecutive victories, the national rugby team has topped the South Zone of the 2015 North American Caribbean Rugby Association’s 15s tournament, following an emphatic victory against Curacao at the A. O Shirley Recreational Grounds on Saturday, May 2.

On a dusty grounds, due to ongoing renovation works, the BVI shutout the visitors 19-0 and will now move on to face familiar opponent, Barbados.

In the 7th minute, the BVI seized a 7-0 lead behind a try by Shamarie Spencer and subsequent conversion by Rory Thornton. Shortly before halftime, the BVI struck again when Noel Maxwell scored with a burst of speed to push the lead to 12-0.

Curacao would respond with an offense surge that lasted about 5 minutes a few yards from the try line, but the BVI defense held up to ensure a 12 point lead when the halftime whistle blew.

Austin Keil crushed the hopes of the visitors when he broke two tackles and secured a try under the uprights. The conversion by Thornton gave the BVI the 19 point victory and a chance to play the top seeded teams in the Caribbean.

Head coach Sherlock Solomon was proud of the team’s accomplishment, particularly, since players from the under-19 program have started to come through. The BVI went to St. Lucia and St. Vincent and returned home with victories.

“Last season we were building and a year later you can see the work. The youngsters were very encouraging and impressive. We were fitter and much more consistent this year and the results prove how hard we have been working for the last 12 months,” said Solomon.

Asked further to explain what has changed since the BVI has always been working, Solomon said, “I think the commitment and the guys learning and understanding the game because half the team was made up of under 19s. They took their licks last year, went to the gym, worked harder and learned from that. It was really satisfying to see the progress,” said Solomon.

For Curacao, the stifling BVI defense was too much to overcome, acoording to captain Robin Perry.

“I don’t think that we played too well that is because the BVI didn’t let us. They played very solid defense, we couldn’t break them down. As a team we are very disappointed, but fair play to the BVI because they were the better team,” Perry stated.