VI’s Nanjing 2014 athletes announced at Olympic Day celebrations

Olympic Day celebrations at Tortola Sports Club

Olympic Day celebrations at Tortola Sports Club. Photo: BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) announced the 7 athletes who will be representing the Virgin Islands at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in swimming, sailing, and athletics. The announcement and a special presentation of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Participant’s Pin were part of Olympic Day celebrations hosted at the Tortola Sports Club on Saturday, June 21.

In his remarks Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC, said, “2014 is a busy year for the BVIOC. In addition to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games that took place in February, there are no less than 4 global games and competitions coming up in which the Virgin Islands expects to participate. These include the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games which take place July 23 – August 3 in Scotland, the Nanjing 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games which take place August 16 – 28 in China, and the Vera Cruz 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games which take place November 14 – 30 in Mexico. We then have the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada and the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games which will take place that summer in Brazil.”

“It is an exciting period for the BVIOC Executive board as we continue to see up and coming young athletes make the mark and join the roll call of competitors who have represented the Virgin Islands at major games,” added Penn.

The Nanjing 2014 competitors from athletics include sprinter, Nelda Huggins; 100m hurdler, Deya Erickson; Long Jumper, Kala Penn; 400m intermediate hurdler, Kyron McMaster; and triple jumper, Akeem Bradshaw who all qualified for the second Youth Olympic Games during the 2014 Carifta Games held in April in Martinique.

Sam Morrell will be representing the Virgin Islands in sailing following his success in the 2014 Byte CII North American Championships to become the first VI sailor to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.

In another first for the VI, Amarah Phillips will be competing in swimming.

Chef de Mission for Nanjing 2014, Mrs. Stephanie Russ-Penn, who announced the athletes said: “These kids will get the opportunity not just to go and compete, but they will have an opportunity to develop themselves because these games are nothing like any other games. It’s completely designed to give them both a cultural, educational, as well as competitive experience.”

Mr. Lloyd Black, Secretary General for the BVIOC, reiterated Stephanie’s remarks by recognising the hard work, diligence and perseverance of the athletes required to make the qualifying marks.

The programme of events continued with the presentation of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Participant’s Pin to Peter Adam Crook, the VI’s half- pipe skier. Mr. Paul Hewlett, Deputy Director of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, representing the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports presented the pin to Adam.

Mr. Rey O’Neal, Past President of the BVIOC provided an overview of the Olympic history of the VI which had made its Olympic debut with speed skater, Errol Canute Fraser in the Sarajevo 1984 Winter Games. Adam is the territory’s second Winter Olympian.

Drawing events to a close, Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC read out the Olympic Day message from Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee. He then invited the gathering of over 90 participants of all ages to join in the symbolic Olympic Day run through Road Town before returning to the sports club to collect their Certificate of Participation.

The afternoon set up at the sports club included information desks run by the National Federations for Swimming, Sailing, and Athletics, and the VI branch of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO).

The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force, and Lifeline BVI, a privately owned, ambulance and EMT service, ensured the safety of the runners and walkers. Roadtown Wholesale distributed Dasani water and Powerade to participants along the route and at the sports club. Ice and coolers were provided by MBs Ice.

Cleave Farrington, Executive Director of the BVIOC and lead, event organizer, acknowledged several individuals from the community who had volunteered their time to assist with the set up, registration, and marshaling of the event.

Earlier in the day, an Olympic Day run was held in the Valley, Virgin Gorda while the BVI Tri Federation held a children’s triathlon event at Smuggler’s Cove, Tortola.

Olympic Day Message – IOC President, Thomas Bach

Today, people all over the world are celebrating Olympic Day. I am pleased to have this chance to greet you. Because today, together,we are sharing a success story. Like you, millions of other people in their own countries are taking part, regardless of age, sex or sporting ability.

On this day, we remember the creation of our modern Olympic Movement. We are demonstrating the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect. For this reason, today is not just about having fun through sport and physical activity. Olympic Day is more than that.

We invite everyone, everywhere, “to move, to learn and to discover”—through sport and beyond sport. It is especially good to see more and more young people taking part. Make full use of all the sporting and cultural opportunities in your community and neighbourhood. Invite other people to join in.

Because that is what is so special about Olympic Day: It doesn’t really matter how you celebrate it, so long as more and more people get to move, learn and discover. That way, we can all help to make our future a better place to live. That is the Olympic ideal.

I wish you all a happy Olympic Day 2014!