Eldred Henry places 6th in Pan Am Games Shot Put

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

LIMA, Peru – Eldred Henry brought the curtains down on the BVI’s track and field participation in the 18th Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru on Wednesday night, with a sixth placed shot put finish, after Ashley Kelly had a non-advancing time in the 400m final.

“I’m not pleased at all. I’m very disappointed,” Henry said after his best effort of 19.82m – his first meet of the season under 20.00m. “I’ll say under the circumstances, I can’t complain. I’m just thankful I was able to complete the meet without reinjuring my finger and move on from there. On a good day, I know I should be more than able to be in the medal mix, but it didn’t happen today. I just couldn’t get into my rhythm at all. That was the biggest issue.”

Henry who opened with an unlooked for 18.51m effort, hyperextended the ring finger on his throwing hand before the Games and was out of commission for a few weeks of training.

“Just couldn’t get into my rhythm at all, that’s my biggest issue right now,” Henry pointed out. “I had to take a couple weeks off throwing because I messed up my hand and finally got it back healthy, but, just getting back into the swing of things – it didn’t come together tonight.”

From his opening throw, Henry said he wasn’t feeling it on his left side. He said when he got a good set up, he feels it off the back side – something he wasn’t feeling last night – although he tried to work it, it wasn’t coming at all.

“In practice, it was touch and go,” he noted. “I would hit it and then, a couple throws later, not hit it again. It was coming, but not as fast as I would have liked it to.”

Ashley Kelly’s 400m
Ashley Kelly had a non-advancing time in her 400m semifinal, finishing in 54.42 seconds.

“I really tried to get out, put myself in the race and really finish the last 150 the way I know I had to, make the final by coming in the top three, things didn’t pan out how I wanted it, but, I’m really grateful of the opportunity to be here,” she said. “I felt good during the race but my footspeed isn’t where I want it to be. I’m still l bit uncomfortable in the race but, it is what it is. I’m happy that I made it through and didn’t give up, that’s what important to me right now.”

Laser Sailing
Thad Lettsome had his best race of the Laser competition in Paracas on Wednesday, finishing 15th in his first race of the day. He was 19th in the second race and had an 18th place finish in his last race. He’s currently ranked 19th overall.

He wraps up the BVI’s participation in the 18th Pan American Games today with two races.

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.

Eldred Henry’s stock rises ahead of Pan Am Games action

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

Eldred Henry – British Virgin Islands

LIMA Peru – Eldred Henry arrived in Lima on July 29th to begin final preparations for his second Pan Am Games, in which he’ll see action on August 7.

Former BVI Olympic Committee and BVI Athletics Association President, Rey O’Neal, traces the rising stock of Henry, who’s currently ranked No 13 on the IAAF 2019 list.

In the British Virgin Islands’ long history of participation at the Carifta Games beginning in 1976, the territory’s athletes have returned home with 57 total medals, 50 of them being won by individual athletes. What may be surprising to many is the fact that so many of these medals have been won by competitors in the jumps and the throws. All of our gold medals have come from field event competitors – first by Keita Cline who won three consecutive titles in the Long jump and added another in the Triple Jump, followed by Eric Matthias in the Discus Throw and Chantel Malone in the Triple Jump.

The throws have been particularly productive in the present decade. None of our runners has won more than one individual medal in a single Games and Cline, Matthias and Malone, were the only double medalists prior to that.

However, since the emergence of Eldred Henry, who won bronze medals in the Shot Put and Discus Throw in 2013, the BVI always won at least two medals in every Games until 2018. Six of these came from the Gumbs family, with twin sisters Trevia and Tynelle and younger brother Djimon each adding two to the family collection.

Henry parlayed his 2013 successes in Nassau to a scholarship to Central Arizona College, following the well-worn path previously trodden by, among others, National Jr. College champions, Steve Augustine and Omar Jones, who later became Henry’s domestic coach. Henry won two JUCO titles himself in the Shot Put and another in the Discus Throw during his stay there, where he benefited from the coaching of Ton Dougherty. Just as importantly he set new records in the throws with marks in excess of 20m (6 ft) and 60m (200ft) in the Shot and Discus respectively.

Internationally, Henry also continued to make an impression. In 2014, he placed fourth in the Discus Throw and fifth in the Shot Put at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in Kamloops, Canada. Two years later at the same meet, this time held in El Salvador, he improved his placing to third in each throwing event. In between those events he placed fifth in the Shot and sixth in the Discus Throw at the NACAC Open Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.

In 2017, with his Jr. College eligibility behind him, he had an abbreviated season but won the Shot at the OECS Championships in Grenada.

In 2018, Eldred Henry emerged as an international caliber thrower. At the Commonwealth Games in Australia to start his outdoor season, he had a modest although promising performance, given his long absence from high level competition.

He decided to give the Discus Throw a pass for the year with a view towards improving his marks in the Shot Put. At the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, he came good with a throw of 20.18m, good enough for bronze behind Jamaicans, O’Dayne Richards and Ashinia Miller. A few short weeks later he unleashed a big throw of 20.63m to place fifth at the NACAC Open Championships in Toronto, Canada, establishing a new OECS record. The throwers who beat him were an American, a Canadian and the two Jamaicans who had bested him in Colombia.

Henry’s performance qualified him for the 2019 Pan American Games and for this year’s World Championships in Doha Qatar, Sept 27 – Oct 6. He stands in 6th place all-time among Shot Putters from the CAC region behind Jamaicans Richards, Dorian Scott and Miller, and the Cuban pair of Alexis Paumier and Carlos Veliz, both of whom like Scott, are no longer active.

Henry, now competing for the University of Findlay in Ohio, tossed the iron ball an impressive 20.61m in a home meet for a national and O.E.C.S. indoor record, a mark bettered only by the Jamaicans Richards and Scott among CAC throwers. He won the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, adding to those he had won indoors for Central Arizona at the Junior College level.

In May, Henry unleashed a mammoth 21.47m throw to shatter the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships record, a mark that has him at No 13 on the IAAF list.

Heading into the Pan Am Games competition, he’s among the top 5 throwers in the Americas. Henry’s performances stamp him as second only to hurdler Kyron McMaster among BVI male athletes in terms of international ranking and it seems that there is much more to come.

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.

D’Jimon Gumbs sets new National Youth Shot Put Record

Source: BVI Platinum

Dijimon Gumbs established a new National Youth Record with a throw of 17.20m (56ft 5 1//4 inches) at the BVIAA's 5th Development meet on March 18, 2017

D’Jimon Gumbs established a new National Youth Record with a throw of 17.20m (56ft 5 1//4 inches) at the BVIAA’s 5th Development meet on March 18, 2017. Photo: BVIAA

During a remarkable performance, BVI’s own powerhouse in the discipline of Shot Put, D’Jimon Gumbs was able to break his standing National Youth Record three times in one meet.

Participating in the Development Meet held over the weekend, Saturday, March 18 at the A. O. Shirley Recreational Grounds, D’Jimon now boasts of a throw of 17.20m (56ft 5 1//4 inches), a new National Youth Record.

This distance places him at the top three of his class, under 18 boys.

In a meet held earlier in January 2017, he first established his youth record with a throw of 16.43m.

His performance made him the first athlete from the Territory to qualify for the 2017 Carifta Games in Curacao, April 15-17, as well as the World Under 18 Youth Championships in Kenya, July 2017.

Meanwhile, his brother Diamonte Gumbs secured his Carifta qualifier in the Shot Put as well, with a toss of 15.96m (52feet, 4.3 inches), surpassing the qualifying mark of 15.75m.

Behind the Scenes at Rio 2016 with Eldred Henry

Eldred Henry during training at Rio 2016. Photo: BIVOC

Eldred Henry during training at Rio 2016. Photo: BIVOC

It’s was a cold and drizzly day in Rio but the training must go on for 21-year old Eldred Henry, BVI’s first shot putter to go to the Olympics. His event takes place at the Olympic Stadium in the morning of Thursday, August 18 at 9.55am BST (8.55am EST).

Soaking up the experience of being at his first Olympic Games, Eldred has been training twice a day, every day since the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony on August 5.

The morning session is usually muscle work in the gym where the concentration is on power. The afternoons are committed to throwing.

Eldred gets on the bus departing for the Air Force Club from the Athletes’ Village. On this particular day, he’s in the company of some of the other throwers training under the watch of Eldred’s mentor, Tennessee coach, John Newell. The chat on the 30-minute journey is all about the field sport of throwing.

Once at the training base, Eldred exchanges his accreditation card for a couple of shot puts and makes his way to the ring with Nigerian thrower, Stephen Mozia, ranked third in the world.

Eldred Henry dusting with chalk prior to the throw at training at Rio 2016. Photo: BVIOC

Eldred Henry dusting with chalk prior to the throw at training at Rio 2016. Photo: BVIOC

“Most of the days I haven’t had any other throwers around so it’s actually quite good to observe them, especially if they are using a technique that my coach has been training me to use.”

Eldred’s coach, Omar Jones arrived into Rio a few days after Eldred during which time the 6’5” athlete maintained his training schedule with BVIAA Head Coach, Winston Potter.

“I have improved quite a lot since the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, primarily because I switched from gliding to rotating when I started training at Arizona Central College,” he explains. “While training here in Rio, I had been sending clips of my throws to Coach Omar so that he can review them and let me know where I need to focus. It’s good to have him here though because he can help me make any adjustments in real time and help me get into my rhythm.”

In the run up to competitions, Eldred prepares body and mind for peak performance. This includes cutting out sugars and sweet foods so as not to slow down his muscles and trying to adapt to a sleeping and waking pattern to suit his competition hours.

Eldred strapping up his wrist prior to a throw. Photo: BVIOC

Eldred strapping up his wrist prior to a throw. Photo: BVIOC

“Trying to get enough sleep has been a bit of a challenge for me because my timetable in the BVI is different, but I should be okay,” he says.

On his mind set for competition day, Eldred says that he learned a lot from Glasgow 2014, including what to expect once he enters the arena. “I need to stay level headed and calm. My Personal Best is a 20 meter throw which actually was a safety throw and my Season Best was 19.39 in Tucson in May this year so I feel that if I can stay relaxed and focused, I can get out there and try and do even better.”

Coach Omar Jones with Eldred Henry at Rio 2016. Photo: BVIOC

Coach Omar Jones with Eldred Henry at Rio 2016. Photo: BVIOC

Eldred Henry 4th in Pan Am Jr Championships Shot Put

Eldred Henry competes in the 17th Pan Am Jr. Championships Shot Put in Medellin, Colombia, where he placed 4th for the best ever finish by a BVI athlete in the competition. PHOTO: Liga de Atletismo DeAntioquia

Eldred Henry competes in the 17th Pan Am Jr. Championships Shot Put in Medellin, Colombia, where he placed 4th for the best ever finish by a BVI athlete in the competition. PHOTO: Liga de Atletismo DeAntioquia

Eldred Henry brought the curtains down on the 2013 track and field season with the best finish ever by a British Virgin Islands athlete in the Pan American Jr. Championships, when he placed fourth in the 6K Shot Put on Sunday evening, in the 17th edition of the competition held in Medellin, Colombia.

Henry’s performance came after equaling Samantha John’s 2009 fifth place finish in the 800m, when he heaved the Discus out to a Jr. National Record throw on Friday night.

Henry, who will begin his studies as a Central Arizona College freshman on Wednesday, tossed the 6k ball 17.75m. “I felt pretty good in the beginning and had a good warm up and a few good practice throws. My first throw was my best which was 17.75m,” he noted. “My second throw of 17.50 didn’t come together the way I wanted it to but it was still pretty good. Then, it started to rain and that threw me off my game completely. I was slipping in ring and the ball had no grip due to the fact that it was wet and it went down hill from there. But, the good thing is my first throw was able to keep me in the fourth place position throughout the competition.”

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