Elinah Phillip & Malik John to compete at Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games

Swimmer Elinah Phillip and track runner, Malik John will represent the VI at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 6 – 18.

Swimmer, Elinah Phillip and track athlete, Malik John will be representing the Virgin Islands at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The third edition of the Games will take place October 6 – 18.

Phillip who is 18 years old, will be competing in the 50m and 100m Freestyle and the 50m Butterfly. Her first event is the Women 100m Freestyle heat on October 8th.

This will be Malik John’s first attendance at the YOG. The 17 years old runner will be competing in the 400m with his heat on October 11th.

While this will be Phillip’s first YOG, she made her Olympic Games debut at age 16 when she swam in the 50m Freestyle at Rio 2016, becoming the VI’s first swimmer to compete at a Summer Games. Since then, she has competed successfully in several events in the UK and on the international circuit.

Phillip was a multiple medalist in the Swim England East Region and the winner of the Wilkinson Sword Award 2018, awarded annually for achievement in the sport of swimming.

Regionally, She scored a place in VI sporting history when she won 3 silver medals at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica, March 31 – April 3. Her hat trick delivered a total of 10 medals won by her at CARIFTA, representing the most medals ever won by any BVI athlete in all CARIFTA sporting events.

Earlier this season, Phillip competed in 2 events at the British Summer National Championships held in Sheffield, UK from July 24 – 29, 2018. She reached the final in both events placing 5th and 7th and attaining a personal best and setting a VI national record in the process.

More recently, Phillip was a PanAm Sports Camp participant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida August 30 – September 11. The goal was for athletes throughout the Americas to develop, share experiences with other athletes and receive world-class training from renowned specialists in their sport.

Phillip then went on to compete in the FINA Swimming World Cup 2018 held in Eindhoven, Netherlands from September 28th -30th where she placed 5th in her 50m Butterfly heat with a time of 27.31 shaving 0.42 off her PB achieved a month previously and resetting the national record. Phillip also ranked 19/49 in the 50m freestyle with a time of 25.62 and she placed 27/49 in the 100m freestyle with a time of 57.00 before traveling to the Youth Olympic Games.

“I am really looking forward to racing, meeting athletes from around the world and experiencing Argentinian culture,” said Elinah Phillip.

Relative new comer to the bigger competitive stage, John started competing in track events in 2015 and has participated in the 2016 CUT Games, the 2017 and 2018 Carifta Games, the 2018 Golden South and the 2018 Barbados invitational.

He is a member of the Sprint Tech Track Club which falls under the umbrella of the National Federation BVI Athletics Association.

“I am very happy to have been selected as part of the BVI delegation to compete and experience Argentinian culture. I intend to represent the British Virgin Islands to the best of my abilities,” said Malik John.

In addition to the two athletes, Keanu George of the Valley, Virgin Gorda will attend the YOG as one of the 80 Youth Change Makers (YCM) from across the globe. Nominated by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), George will be expected to facilitate the VI’s athletes’ participation in “learn & share” activities and encourage them to experience the YOG spirit of Compete, Learn and Share.

George is an Honors graduate of the Bregado Flax High Schoo. He obtained an Associate Degree in Computer, Graphic Information Technology at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC). He was an athlete of the Raw Skillz Track Club of Virgin Gorda and currently works at the Wright Choice Canteen as a Manager.

The VI delegation includes Cleave Farrington, Chef de Mission; Benoit Grattepanche, Swimming Coach; Tracy Bradshaw, swimming chaperone; Ralston Henry, Athletics Coach; and Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC

Ephraim Penn congratulated the athletes on their achievements and selection. “This has been a phenomenal sports year for the Virgin Islands with incredible results achieved by our young and senior athletes competing regionally and globally. It is fitting that we close out 2018 with the participation of these two young athletes who represent hope for our continued success in major international Games. We look forward to supporting and encouraging them at Buenos Aires 2018,” said Mr. Penn.

Keanu George selected to Youth Change Makers (YCM) Programme

Mr. Keanu George of the Valley, Virgin Gorda was selected as one of the 80 Youth Change Makers (YCM) from across the globe for the 3rd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Buenos Aires in 2018.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) launched the Youth Change-Makers (YCM) programme (previously Young Ambassadors Programme) for the 3rd Youth Olympic Games (YOG) to be held in Buenos Aires in 2018.

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) nominated Mr. Keanu George of the Valley, Virgin Gorda who was selected as one of the 80 Youth Change Makers (YCM) from across the globe. This is the first time someone from the BVI has been selected.

Mr. George will be part of the BVI’s delegation at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games and will be empowered to motivate and inspire our YOG athletes and ensure that they get the most out of their YOG journey.

Pre-Games, Mr. George will help promote the YOG and its values and inform the athletes about the Learn & Share activities. During Games time, he will actively facilitate the BVI’s athletes’ participation in these activities and encourage them to truly experience the YOG spirit of Compete, Learn and Share.

Post-Games, all Young Change Makers will be invited to remain engaged and actively involved with the IOC and National Olympic Committees (NOC) in promoting sport, the Olympic values and the YOG spirit.

Mr. George is a graduate of the Bregado Flax High School with Honors. He obtained an Associate Degree in Computer, Graphic Information Technology at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC). He was an athlete of the Raw Skillz Track Club of Virgin Gorda and presently works at the Wright Choice Canteen as a Manager.

In his response after learning he had been selected as a YCM, Mr. George said, “I am very honored to be selected as the YCM at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and humbled because this will be a life changing experience. The experience I gain will be used to encourage others to do their best and go after their goals. I hope to learn as much as possible and use that to inspire others to be the best that they can be”.

Ephraim Penn, President of the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee congratulated Keanu on his accomplishment of being selected as a Youth Change Maker. He stated, “I have no doubt that he will do his best and most importantly come back to the Territory and continue to help with the youth in development of sport in the Territory.”

The Youth Olympic Games will take place October 6 – 18, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

About the Youth Change Maker
The Young Change-Makers (YCM) Programme aims to empower young people and support them to become Change-Makers in their community, using sport for a better world. The IOC aims to create an ongoing and long-term engagement with these young talents beyond the YOG in October 2018, through regular opportunities to get active and to contribute.

Team BVI hails Nanjing 2014 as an experience of a lifetime

IMG-20140829-WA0002On August 28th, 2014, the 2nd Youth Olympic Games concluded with a spectacular closing ceremony in Nanjing, China. With the games now finished, teams of the World have returned home including team BVI. For all participants, it was clearly not just another Games but a truly cultural, educational and competitive event, carefully designed to enrich the experiences of the athletes beyond the playing field.

Team BVI collectively summed up Nanjing 2014 as “definitely an experience of a lifetime.” Chef de Mission, Stephanie Russ Penn also noted that Nanjing, China did a tremendous job at creating and hosting these Games.


BVI Wins Gold as part of the inaugural mixed team relay
Competing in three sports swimming, sailing and athletics one of the most significant highlights for the BVI was the Olympic gold medal attained by Lakeisha “Mimi” Warner in the inaugural 8 x 100m Mixed Team Relay.

10614106_699614146786190_4970112474612636410_n(1)Warner, a member of Team #34, joined with nine other athletes from Romania, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Australia, Comoros, Germany and Thailand (2 being reserves) and contested the 4 male, 4 female relay winning in a time of 1 minute 40.20 seconds. The team comprised of a mixture of sprinters, throwers, jumpers and distance athletes.

Triple Jumper Akeem Bradshaw, hurdlers Deya Erickson and Kyron McMaster, long Jumper, Kala Penn, and sprinter, Nelda Huggins were also each a member of one of the 66 total relay teams that participated in the event.

In a format unique to the Youth Olympic Game, each track and field athlete had the opportunity to compete in a final regardless of placement in the preliminary round of competition. Initial performances determined each athlete’s designated final with the A final comprising of the top preliminary finishers and the medal contenders.

Huggins, 17, the only A finalist, lacked her usual race drive and had a sixth place finish overall running 11.87 seconds. She ran 11.81 to win her prior heat. While she had hoped to medal, her performance nonetheless is a tremendous accomplishment.

Warner, 16, won the C 800m final in 2 minutes 16.71 seconds. She was sixth in her 800m heat finishing in 2:18.67 seconds.

Penn, 16, had a best leap of 5.22 metres in the Long Jump to advance to the B final finishing 6th and ranked 14th overall.

Erickson, 17, ran the 100m Hurdles in 14.76 seconds but was withdrawn from the C final as an injury prevention measure.

Bradshaw, 17, placed fifth in the B Triple Jump final with a leap of 13.90m and ranked 13th overall. His opening jump of 14.33m in the preliminary round was his best jump of the Games.

McMaster, 17, in just the sixth 400m Intermediate Hurdles race of his career after running a tremendous 250m unfortunately push down the seventh hurdle, subsequently being disqualified. To add to the disappointment in his second chance of a mark in the B final, he was charged with a false start.

Team Official and Athletics Coach Ralston Henry congratulated his athletes for their collective efforts and encourages them to be confident and work harder to reach their true potentials in the sport.

There were numerous days of cancellations due to insufficient wind and an extra competition day at the latter point of the sailing competition. BVI sailor and opening ceremony flag bearer, Sam Morrell, 15, competing in the Byte CII Dinghy regatta however, managed to place 13th in the final race and climb 3 spots to rank 22nd overall in the fleet. He scored a total of 125 points and was able to finish in the top 15 three times (12th, 13th and 14th) during his eight total races. Both Sam and his coach, Chris Watters were pleased at the strong ending to his competition.

Swimmer, Amarah Phillip, 16, had the opportunity to compete in two events unlike her teammates. She placed sixth in her 50m Butterfly heat in 31.05 seconds and seventh in the 50m Free Style in 29.28, but did not advance to the semis in either event. She was privileged to be the closing ceremony flag bear of the BVI delegation.

Proud mother and coach while at the Games, Tracy Bradshaw was satisfied with the performances and elated to share in the Games with both daughters Amarah and Elinah, the BVI’s top swimmers.

10624778_700421073372164_1325521819460656315_nCultural and Educational Programme (CEP) Activities
In addition to competing, Team BVI took full advantage of the numerous cultural and educational activities provided throughout and outside of the Youth Olympic Village (YOV).

Activities ranged from daily interaction and Yogging amongst the numerous country booths in the World Culture Village set within the YOV; the learn and share booths that focused on WADA outreach, career programmes, fair play, injury prevention; the “Pump it Up” performances highlighting various types of Chinese performing arts, and in particular the BVI booth created by the Xiongzhou Junior High School.

Team BVI had the opportunity to exchange gifts with members of the junior high who presented unique rain flower stones to the BVI delegation.

Additionally, on Wednesday, August 27, Deya Erickson, and official, Ralston Henry interacted with Thomas Bach, International Olympic President as participants of the IOC Youth Session, while the previous day team BVI bonded with each other as well as athletes from other countries on the Nanjing Adventure and Treasure Activity.

Even though the Games have ended, the experience will live on in Team BVI who are appreciative to have “Shared the Games and Shared the Dreams” of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

Sam Morrell qualifies for Youth Olympic Games

Sam-MorellWith a resounding third overall finish in the 2014 Byte CII North American Championships Sam Morrell became the first British Virgin Islands sailor to qualify for an Olympic yachting berth.  Competing in Jensen Beach, Florida Morrell easily secured one of the four spots available to sailors from the North American and Caribbean region.

Morrell will join sailors representing the USA, Canada, Bahamas, the USVI and the Bahamas at the event.

Conditions in the four-day regatta ran the gamut from light and shifty to windy.

“I’m much faster in strong wind,” explained the 14-year old Morrell.  “My results in the 3 light wind races on the 2nd day were OK, but I was better when the wind was up.

Going into the events final 2-races on day four, Morrell had a great chance to secure a qualifying position.  He needed to finish no more than three points behind the USVI sailor and four points behind the competitor from Bermuda.  In the end he beat them both and moved into 3rd overall in the regatta and the 2nd qualifying position.

A total of 10-races were held in the four day regatta which saw 30-sailors from the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean compete for 4-remaining spots in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games which will be held in Nanjing, China this August.  The USA and Canada had previously qualified and Morrell joined the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands in winning spots.  Sailing spots in the Youth Olympics are apportioned to countries from different regions around the World.

This was Morrell’s second chance to qualify.  He attended the Byte World Championships  last August in Newport Rhode Island.

“I did poorly at the Worlds,” he admitted.  “But, I returned to the VI and trained hard.  A lot of training and coaching got me into great shape for this event.”

Morrell, who turns 15 on March 27th, has been sailing and racing dinghies since he was 9.  Switching from the Optimist to the Byte was a calculated move.

“I was sizing out of Opti’s [Optimist dinghies] and we set the Youth Olympics as a goal.,” he explained.

Morrell has represented the British Virgin Islands in the Optimist New England, North & South American Championships and finished the 2013 Optimist World Championships in 112th position.

The Youth Olympic Games are held every four years.  The 2014 Games will be held in Nanjing, China.

Junior sailor, Sam Morrell to represent BVI at Youth Olympic Games qualifier

Sam Morrell, junior BVI sailor

Sam Morrell, junior BVI sailor

Sam Morell is attending the Byte CII World Championships in Newport, RI from August 24-28.  This is his first attempt to qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.  The top 5-finishers at The World’s will gain automatic entry into the 2014 YOG.

Sam has been sailing & training with the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY all Summer.  Summer training included a multiple of regattas on Long Island Sound.  Sam finished on the podium in all of them, with a first place finish in the Shelter Island YC event and a resounding 6th place over all in the JSA Long Island Sound Championships.

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