Malone leaps to BVI’s 1st Pan Am Games medal in 36 years

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

Chantel Malone on her victory lap after winning the BVI’s first ever medal at the Pan American Games when she leapt 6.68 in the long jump to take gold at Lima 2019. Photo: Todd VanSickle

LIMA, Peru – Four years after a medal slipped from her grasp in the final round of competition in Toronto, long jumper Chantel Malone buried the field on her first attempt, to win the BVI’s first Pan Am Games medal in its 36-year history, on the opening day of track and field in Estadio Nacional, in Lima, Peru.

Malone, No 14 on the 2019 IAAF list and the No 3 listed jumper in the Americas, sailed through the chilled air, then cut the sand at 6.68m (21’11”), a mark none of her 13 pursuers would surpass.

The USA’s Keturah Orji would come closest at 6.66m for silver while Jamaica’s Tissanna Hickling earned bronze with 6.59m.

Chantel Malone, in winners row, center, is joined on the podium by the USA’s Kethurah Ojiri, left, silver medalist and Jamaica’s Tissanna Hickling, who earned bronze  PHOTO: Todd VanSickle, BVI Beacon

“This is amazing,” Malone said. “We know how the season started with a great bang and then I hand an injury, been up and down, with performances and trying to figure things out. And, to come here and come out with the gold, that means everything to me.”

She said after her opening jump, in her mind she wanted to go further but as it got colder and colder – with temperatures dipping to 59 degrees – it became harder.

Long Jumper Chantel Malone sails through the air, en route to capturing the BVI’s first Pan Am Games medal in 36 years, last night in Lima Peru PHOTO: Todd VanSickle, BVI Beacon

Malone explained that her thought process heading into the competition was not to focus on what happened in the past nor anyone else. “Coach and I were talking and he said “you need to be a Dog from the get go and let people chase you and you don’t chase them”,’” she pointed out. “Normally, I would do good as I progress, but honestly, I just went out there, trusted the process and tried to execute and that’s the result that came.”

Malone said she’s happy with her performance which she hopes will inspire other young athletes. “Winning gold is a big deal,” she said. “It lets the world know that the BVI is there. We’re small, but we have a lot of talent and I’m just happy to be an ambassador for my country.”

After jumping a world leading 6.90m at the time then getting a hamstring injury, her coach, Olympic and World Championships gold medalist, Dwight Phillips said he was grateful Malone was able to come out victorious. He said they had been working on hitting the World Championships standard of 6.75m on the first jump an improvement she has been making. “The conditions were quite cold, not the best conditions, but she has been able to come out victorious,” said Phillip, an Olympic champion long jumper and four times IAAF World champion. “I have my first medalist in the Pan Am Games and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “It’s more rewarding coaching someone to a gold than actually winning the gold medal myself.”

BVI Olympic Committee President Ephraim Penn, said he knew that BVI has the caliber of athletes to win a Pan Am title, but didn’t know who’d do it first.

“Chantel came through in flying colors,” he said. “Looks like every time we win our first medal, it has to be a gold,” he said referring to the Central American Championships and Commonwealth Games. “I know everyone at home is proud of this moment – this is a special moment for the BVI. We’re making major breakthroughs after our first Commonwealth and Pan Am Games medals and next year, maybe the first Olympic medal.”

Laser Sailing
Thad Lettsome got in two more Laser races in Paracas yesterday and continues today. He’s currently 19th overall in the fleet.

Radio reports on CBN 90.9 FM with Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway are aired 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., through Sunday, with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Monday.

Lettsome sets sail as Malone jumps into Pan Am Games action

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome heading down wind during the first full day of Pan Am Games racing in Paracas, Peru PHOTO Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

LIMA Peru – Laser sailor Thad Lettsome finally got the wind in his sail and made his debut in the 18th Pan Am Games sailing competition in Paracas, Peru yesterday, where he had two races, after the first two days of racing and four races were cancelled.

Lettsome, the youngest in the competition at age 17, was 16th in his best race and completed the first series on 37 points. “The start of the first race was great, 10/10, executed the plan perfectly, exactly what I wanted to do, but a few mistakes and a bit of an unlucky shift, put me way in the back and made it hard to come back up,” he explained. “The breeze got really light and shutting off. For the second race, we got back into it, had another great start – I had two good starts today – then I was in mid fleet for the whole race doing quite well in the new breeze. Then I lost probably three boats in the last leg of the race and that’s how I ended up 16th but I was racing quite well up until the end, so it could only get better now.”

Considering missing the first two days of racing, going out on Sunday and spending hours on the water, Coach Alec Anderson said he thought Lettsome did a good job, with his age and experience to stay level headed.

“We did a great job of preparing for that first race and we did a wonderful job and he was right next to the person from Guatemala who ended up winning the race,” Anderson noted. “He had a couple bad breaks. It was a very light and tricky race where one mistake – especially against some of these guys who are the top Laser sailors in the world it costs you a lot – so he paid the price on those small mistakes which we discussed afterwards and let it got.”

Anderson said another good start in the second race, saw him rounding the mark in 12th position which was excellent with this fleet and his second race in the regatta, and lost a few on the final leg of the race. “It was a bad moment for his boat speed but ultimately a good rally,” Anderson stated. “We know where he stands, we know there’s a lot of potential and we know he has the ability to climb up the leader board every day, so that’s the plan.”

Chantel Malone hits Long Jump runway
Long Jumper Chantel Malone will make her 2nd Pan Am Games appearance at 6:30 p.m. BVI time, in the second busiest day for BVI athletes in the Games. Malone finished fourth in 2015.

Tomorrow, Ashley Kelly will make her debut at 4:20 p.m., followed by Eldred Henry at 7 p.m.

Reports through Sunday will be made by Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway on CBN 90.9 FM at 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., with a 9 a.m. wrap up on Aug 12.

Chantel Malone eyeing improved Pan Am Games finish

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

Long Jumper Chantel Malone sails through the air during the 2018 NACAC Championships in Toronto PHOTO: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

LIMA Peru – With a fourth place showing in the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Chantel Malone equaled the 1987 Softball team that narrowly lost to Cuba 4-3 in the bronze medal game, as the territory’s best placings in its history. She’s hoping to improve on that in Lima when she competes in the long jump final on August 6th.

Since Toronto, Chantel has gone on to become the territory’s first IAAF World Championships outdoor finalist, when she placed seventh in the long jump in London in 2017 followed by a 2018 Central American Caribbean (CAC) Games silver medal.

Her 2019 campaign got off to a slow start, leading to a point of frustration, before the breakthrough that put her on top the world at the time, when she cut the sand a 6.90m in the long jump at the 3rd annual Torrin Lawrence Memorial in Athens, Georgia in April. The mark is currently No 5 on the 2019 IAAF list after being No 1 for several weeks.

“My first meet was not all that but I wasn’t too worried about it because my coach was saying I was still in the fall base training and I wasn’t doing speed and once I got my feet under me, I’ll be fine, so I trusted him,” Malone explained. “The next two meets were awesome. The one before my personal best was a season’s best, I felt like I was getting the rhythm back on the runway. When I jumped the 6.90m, I didn’t have to think about anything. It was flowing naturally. I got a little injury after that and that kinda set me back a bit. But, I’m pretty confident that I can go out there at the Pan Am Games and come home with a medal.”

Malone was in third place at Toronto 2015 until the final round where her mark was passed and she had to settle for fourth place. The plan around this time she said, is to “knock ‘em out early.”

“I have a tendency to hit my bigger jumps later down in my series and I’m trying to visualize hitting it on the first one so I don’t have to be worrying too much and no one can sneak up on me,” she pointed out. “That’s my main goal going in – just to execute, remember to have fun, stay relaxed and not to let the pressure of being a games or a major competition get to me.”

What would winning a medal mean to Malone?
“It would pretty much solidify all the hard work I’ve put in. I’ve been to these championships and I’ve always fallen short – whether it’s been an injury or someone passes me on the last jump – it’s always been something like almost there but not really grasping it,” she explained. “If I do what I’m supposed to do and execute the way I know I can execute, then there’s no doubt that I should come out with a medal.”

Additional Pan Am Games reports and interviews with Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway, will be carried on CBN 90.9 FM at 5.00 p.m. through August 5th and then at 9.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m., from August 6 – 11. There’s a 9 a.m. wrap up on Aug 12.

Malone wraps up IAAF World Champs

By BVIAA

Chantel Malone sails through the air en route to a best leap of 6.46m Photo: Dean "The Sportsman" Greenaway

Chantel Malone sails through the air en route to a best leap of 6.46m Photo: Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

BEIJING, China: Chantel Malone of the British Virgin Islands finished 10th in Group B and 21st overall of the 34 Long Jumpers in the qualifying rounds of the 15th IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China yesterday, to wrap up Virgin Islands athletes competition. She did not qualify for tonight’s final.

Malone had a best leap of 6.46m on the second of three attempts and finished three places ahead the USA’s Britney Reese, who won the last two editions of the event in South Korea and Russia respectively.

“It felt pretty good on the run through but the first jump was a little flat,” she recapped of her 6.22m measurement. “I tried to bring the speed in the second jump and I think the speed helped with the 6.46 and I just tried to keep that momentum going, but I dropped my foot on the last jump.”

Malone said there was no difference between her last two outings where she established a personal best of 6.69m at the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, after a 6.62 mark in the Pan Am Games.

“There were just some things that didn’t come together today that happened in the last meet,” she explained. “It’s not a matter of there being a difference. Today, I was a little flat and it didn’t end up the way I wanted it to.”

Malone was happy with her season in which she improved her three-year old BVI National Record of 6.65m to 6.69. She said the she started off a little slow but caught herself. “You always have to be happy for being able to do what you do, so I’m pleased,” she said. “This has been a good experience. I think this is one of the first years I didn’t come in hurt or anything like that and I was really excited and ready to compete. And I still was, but it didn’t happen in the jump. I didn’t get the mark I expected, but I still had a good time competing. I liked the accommodations and the atmosphere of the place.”

With the 2015 season behind, Malone said her goal is now to make it to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. “Whatever that entails,” she said. “It’s every athlete’s dream to go to the Olympics. That’s the ultimate goal for me really.”