Team BVI wraps up Birmingham 2022 appearance with Gold medal and invaluable experience

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: Kyron McMaster of Team British Virgin Islands celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men’s 400m Hurdles Final on day nine of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at Alexander Stadium on August 06, 2022 on the Birmingham, England. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ended on August 8 with a spectacle of fireworks and artists as teams from 72 countries walked into the Alexander Stadium for the Closing ceremony. Joy Victor, a member of the 3×3 basketball team was the flagbearer for the BVI.

The territory was represented at the Games by 17 athletes competing in 4 sports – squash, 3×3 basketball, track and field and cycling. The crowning glory of the 9 days of competition for the team was the success of defending champion Kyron McMaster who, once again, delivered for the nation by winning the gold medal in the 400m hurdles with a time of 48.93.

“This was the largest team that we have taken to a Commonwealth Games and I can say that the athletes rallied in friendship and support ensuring a firm sense of team spirit,” said Chef de Mission Mark Chapman. “The athletes had solid assistance from their coaches both on and off the field and benefited from the treatment on tap provided by Chiropractor Thomas Jeppesen. It was good to see the athletes support each other’s competitions and the 3×3 players also had the opportunity to enjoy pickup games in the neighbourhood.

“The enthusiasm of those new to the Games and their appreciation of the opportunity to compete was encouraging and will be recorded as an eye opening and memorable occasion.”

In advance of the track and field events, the Chef de Mission and Ashley Kelly, the Caribbean Region Athlete Representative for the Commonwealth Games Federation, hosted the team and delegation at a “team family” dinner.

The Premier Dr. The Honourable Natalio Wheatley paid a visit to the athletes in the Village on July 27. A week later, the Minister for Education, Culture, youth Affairs and Sports, Honourable Sharie de Castro visited the Village and was in attendance at the track and field and cycling events and also hosted a gathering for the diaspora ahead of McMaster’s 400m hurdles final.

“Birmingham 2022 has been a great experience for all of the athletes making their first appearance at a major Games,” said President Penn, President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association. “It has given them an idea of what it means to compete on the world stage and to be against the top athletes from the participating countries. The hope is that this will fuel their fire and serve to set their targets beyond the local and regional meets they have excelled at so far and be on a trajectory to join our body of elite athletes who have secured top 10 rankings in the world.

“On behalf of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association, I thank the athletes, coaches and volunteers for their relentless efforts, commitment and dedication to representing the territory with pride at Birmingham 2022.”

The team was led by Chef de Mission Mark Chapman. The delegation included BVI Commonwealth Games President Ephraim Penn, Team Manager Ralston Henry and Coaches Adam Murrills (squash), Eric Matthias (throwing, 3×3 basketball), Lennox Graham, Joey Scott (track), and Paul Cullimore (cycling).

Birmingham 2022 took place July 28 – August 8 and was the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with 11 days of sports comprising 286 sessions, covering 19 sports in which athletes from 72 nations competed for podium finishes. The next Commonwealth Games will take place in 2026 in Victoria, Australia.

Summary of events

Squash

Veteran player Joe Chapman was joined by Luca Reich who celebrated his 19th birthday with a Commonwealth Games debut, playing in Round of 64 in the Men’s Singles. While neither player advanced through to Round of 32, Chapman won his Plate Round of 32 match against Jules Snagg (St Vincent and the Grenadines) but lost to Julian Morrison (Jamaica) in the Plate quarter finals. The duo then competed in the Men’s Doubles and lost their match against Velvan Selthinkumar and Abhay Singh of India.

Basketball

For the first time in sporting history, the BVI was represented at a Commonwealth Games by basketball when a team of 4 players participated in the 3×3 event facing 3 major countries: Canada (6-22), England (5-21) and New Zealand (5 – 19). The team, comprising Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Mahkayla Pickering and Keithrece Smith, faced a baptism by fire and quickly learned the standard, speed and style of play employed by the more experienced players. By their final match, played against New Zealand, team BVI stuck to their new game strategy and succeeded in outplaying the clock to prevent their opponents from scoring the full 21 points (3×3 basketball uses half a court with 1 hoop, 2 teams of 3 + 1 sub. It’s a fast 10-minute game with a 12-second shot-clock. There’s no break after scoring, no half-time and no quarters. The first to 21 points before the time runs out wins the game. If the clock runs out before 21 points, the team with the highest sore wins).

Cycling

Darel Christopher Jr and Sam Talbot both competed in their first Commonwealth Games when they raced in the Time Trial and Road Race. Christopher Jr completed the TT – an event which is a race against the clock – in a time of 58:06.36 with a ranking of 41/54 and Talbot finished in a time of 56:06.67 for a 37/54 ranking. The Road Race was the second of the cycling events. The two cycled in a group of participants from the Caribbean and Africa and after completing 48km of the 160km course, in 3 laps, the group of 51 cyclists were pulled from the race in accordance with the race rules and regulations established for the safety of all riders.

Track and Field

Nine athletes competed in track and field events, Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m), Adriano Gumbs (400m – non-advancing time of 48.87 in the heats), Djimon Gumbs (discus – non advancing distance of 32.32, shot put – 10th place with a distance of 17.18), Deya Erickson (100m hurdles – non-advancing time of 13.94 in the heats) and Beyonce Defreitas (200m) made their major Games debut as they joined veterans Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles), Eldred Henry (shot put), Tynelle Gumbs (hammer throw – non advancing distance of 46.90) and Trevia Gumbs (shot put – non advancing distance of 13.27)).

Brathwaite progressed to the semi-finals where he ran a non-advancing time of 10.31 placing 4th in his group. Defreitas also went through to the semi-finals and placed 15/24 with a time of 23.81.

Eldred Henry, competing in what is only his 3rd meet of the outdoor season placed 5th with a season’s best of 19.97.

Reich and Chapman open for Team BVI at Birmingham 2022. 3×3 Basketball to debut at Commonwealth Games

Squash player Luca Reich opened BVI’s competitions at Birmingham 2022 with his Commonwealth Games debut today, July 29, which also is his 19th birthday.

Reich pushed his game up a level as he fought for points against Emyr Evans representing Wales and came off the squash court at the University of Birmingham venue satisfied with winning some points against the PSA world ranked 93 player for a match result of 11-1, 11-3, 11-0 to Evans.

Later that same evening, Joe Chapman played his first match of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games competing against Abhay Singh of India.

Following 3 fast-paced games, where each player made use of all corners of the court, Chapman conceded the match to Singh in 3 games 11-5, 11-5, 11-5.

Chapman, who felt the two of them were well-matched, was satisfied with his performance in the preliminaries. 

Both Reich and Chapman play again in the Plate Men’s Singles Round of 32 on Sunday, July 31.

The historic 3×3 basketball team will debut at Birmingham 2022 as the first basketball team to represent the territory at the Commonwealth Games in what will be tough matches against more experienced and established teams from large countries. 

Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith and Mahkayla Pickering are set to face Canada and England on Saturday, July 30 when they compete in Group B at 3:55pm (10:55am BVI time) and 9:35pm (4:35pm BVI time) respectively. Matches will be played at a temporary arena which has been constructed at the Smithfield site in the centre of Birmingham.

The players have been acclimating and have already met their Canadian opponents since their arrival at the Friendly Games.

“It’s been an eye-opening but good experience for all the athletes who are new to competing at major Games,” said Mark Chapman, Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. “The team has come together and has settled quickly and smoothly into a routine  at the Athletes’ Village, adapting to the time difference and making sure they get their practice sessions in. Everyone is looking forward to the arrival of the other athletes over the course of the weekend to compete the team.”

Track and field athletes, Kyron McMaster, the defending 400m hurdles Commonwealth Games champion, Eldred Henry (shot put), and Deya Erickson (100m hurdles) along with cyclists Darel Christopher Jr and Sam Talbot are due into Birmingham in the next two days.

“I have spent some time with the team, been to watch some of the squash and the basketball practice session, and have seen Ashley Kelly in action as the Athlete Representative for the Caribbean region of the Commonwealth Games Federation and can say that all our athletes are doing us proud with their ambassadorial behavior,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association. “This is a great opportunity for our up and coming athletes to get their feet wet as part of the process of developing into serious competitors on the international stage and they all seem to be taking advantage of it. We look forward to watching and supporting them in their competitions.”

Track and field competitions start on August  2 and the cyclists compete in their first event – time trial – on August 4.

Birmingham 2022 is the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with 11 days of sports comprising 286 sessions, covering 19 sports in which athletes from 72 nations will compete for championship titles. 

Beyoncé Defreitas and Rikkoi Brathwaite flag bearers at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

Athletes Beyoncé Defreitas (200m) and Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m) are the female and male flag bearers for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony,  which take place in the Alexander Stadium – the venue for the track and field events. This is the first time either athlete has served as a flag bearer for a major Games.

Walking in the parade of athletes alongside the flag bearers is the BVI delegation including squash players Joe Chapman and Luca Reich with Coach Adam Murrills, 3×3 basketball players Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith, Mahkayla Pickering and Coach Eric Matthias and track and field athletes including Adriano Gumbs (400m), Tynelle Gumbs (hammer throw), Trevia Gumbs (shot put) and Djimon Gumbs (discus, shot put) and also physiotherapist Thomas Jeppesen.

The opening ceremonial wear for the BVI delegates attending the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham was a duo team effort and collaboration by Ms. Kristin Frazer of Trèfle Designs and Mrs Markita Smith of Menen I Designs. Markita Smith was the official designer of the apparel for both the men and women while Kristin contributed one of her newest prints and textile for the delegates to enjoy. 

“The idea of simplicity in design paired with a bold print capturing the turquoise waters of the BVI combined very well,” said Ms. Frazer. “To complete the look, I added clean waterproof neoprene espadrilles for everyone from NY based company Seastar Beachwear. 

“The entire project from start to finish was beautiful to see and working with the Chef de Mission Mark Chapman and the delegates was a delight! I am happy to have included Markita on this journey as a rising Fashion Designer and I look forward to contributing more to my community in highlighting our natural talents and skills that is right here in the BVI,” added Ms. Frazer.

The local production team that made the skirts and shirts included Clover’s Sewing & Craft along with Quami’s Sewing Services.

Athletes settle in at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Premier pays visit to the Village

Premier Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, accompanied by Mrs. Tracey Bradshaw, Director, BVI London Office, were welcomed to the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham by Chef de Mission, Mark Chapman and President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association Ephraim Penn on Wednesday, July 27.

Thirteen of the expected 18 athletes, along with members of the BVI delegation to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have arrived in the UK ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Thursday, July 28. 

Settling into the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham are squash players in the Men’s singles and doubles, Joe Chapman and Luca Reich along with Coach Adam Murrills, the 3×3 basketball team comprising Joy Victor, Shauliqua Fahie, Keithrece Smith, Mahkayla Pickering and Coach Eric Matthias and contingents of the track and field team including Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m), Beyoncé Defreitas (200m), Adriano Gumbs (400m) the two sets of Gumbs twins, sisters Tynelle (hammer throw) and Trevia (shot put) and their brothers, Djimon (discus, shot put) and Diamanté (discus). Physiotherapist Thomas Jeppesen and Team Manager, Ralston Henry are also at the Village.

Arriving later this week will be the remaining track and field athletes including gold medalist and 400m hurdles defending champion, Kyron McMaster, Eldred Henry (shot put) and Deya Erickson (100m hurdles) along with Coaches Lennox Graham, Joey Scott. Time trial and road race cyclists Darel Christopher Jr and Sam Talbot and Coach Paul Cullimore will also arrive on Saturday.

Premier Dr. The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, accompanied by Mrs. Tracey Bradshaw, Director, BVI London Office, were welcomed to the Athlete’s Village in Birmingham by Chef de Mission, Mark Chapman and President of the BVI Commonwealth Games Association, Ephraim Penn on Wednesday, July 27. The Premier shared words of encouragement with the athletes before joining the team for dinner at the Village.

The squash Men’s singles Preliminary Round of 64, which takes place tomorrow, Friday, July 29 will be the first event for the BVI when Reich plays against Emyr Evans of Wales at 12:00pm local time (7:00am BVI time) and Chapman plays against Abhay Singh of India at 7.15pm UK time (2:15pm BVI time).  The 3×3 basketball team will then face Canada in the Group Match on Saturday, July 30. The competition schedule for the BVI will be shared following the technical meetings. 

Birmingham 2022 is the 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games with 11 days of sports comprising 286 sessions, covering 19 sports in which athletes from 72 nations will compete for championship titles. 
Updates on the team will be posted on the BVIOC Facebook and Instagram accounts and you can watch the action on SportsMax

Team BVI returns with silver and bronze medals from inaugural Caribbean Games

Tortola, British Virgin Islands, July 6, 2022 – The Virgin Islands (UK) delegation returned after securing 2 podium finishes at the inaugural Caribbean Games which were held June 27 – July 3, 2022, in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Djimon Gumbs won a silver medal in the men’s shot put with a throw of 17.99m (59’02”). The men’s 4x100m team comprising Vadley Sylvester Jr, Mikkel Bassue, Ke’Andre Campbell and Malik John won the bronze with a time of 42.24.

The Games were attended by 29 countries from the Caribbean. The VI took part in two of the seven sports: 3X3 basketball (women) and track & field.

“Congratulations to our medalists and on behalf of the BVI Olympic Committee, I thank the athletes and coaches for their participation and efforts at the Caribbean Games,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are pleased to have provided the majority of the athletes on the team an opportunity to compete in their first major Games. These Games are the next level up from the Carifta and the youth Games and provide a useful yardstick for the standard of competition the athletes can expect to face as they continue to chart their progression in their chosen sport.”

It was an historic occasion for the VI’s women basketball team competing for the first time in a 3×3 tournament and also at a major Games took part. The basketball team played three (3) games against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe.

“Although the 3×3 team was defeated at the Caribbean Games, they were very competitive and played extremely well considering it was the first of such a tournament for the women. The exposure was at a very high level which now prepares the team for the Commonwealth Games,” said Ralston Henry, Chef de Mission, Guadeloupe 2022.

Track and field entered athletes in the 100m (male and female), 400m (men), long jump (women), triple jump (women), shot put (men), javelin (women), 110h (men) and 4x100m (men).

Events and Results
Track and field
• Djimon Gumbs (Shot Put), 2nd
• Diamante Gumbs (Shot Put), 6th
• Vadley Jr. Sylvester (400m – DNF, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Malik John (400m – 13th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Mikkel Bassue (100m – 8th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Ke’Andre Campbell (100m – 11th, 4x100m – 3rd)
• Malik Romney (110mh – 4th)
• Beyonce Defreitas (100m – 11th)
• Arianna Hayde (Long Jump – 6th, Javelin – DNF, Triple Jump – sole competitor)
• Xiomara Malone (Long Jump – 5th)
Coaches: Ericca Fredrick and Eric Matthias J

3×3 Basketball
Team: Shauliqua Fahie, Jolene Bowens, Keithrece Smith, Kiara Woodley.
Coach: Joy Victor

BVI Vs Dominican Republic 12-15
BVI Vs Puerto Rico 4-21
BVI Vs Guadeloupe 12-16

Beyonce de Freitas was the flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony. The team was attended to by physiotherapist Chester Levi James.

Fun, movement, learning and discovery at 3rd annual Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day

Saturday, June 25 saw children and adults join the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) and member National Federations in the 3rd annual Sports Festival promoting the Olympic Day Movement at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds and Virgin Gorda on June 25.

“This year, Olympic Day set out to inspire people to get active and move together with purpose and we feel that the annual Sports Festival is an ideal way to bring the community out, discover a sport, learn about anti-doping and about making changes for a healthier lifestyle and hopefully forge new friendships,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

National Federations including the Virgin Islands Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Basketball Federation, BVI Football Association, Virgin Islands Softball/Baseball Association, Boynes Taekwondo and Volleyball took part in the interactive event.

Special appearances included His Excellency the Governor Mr. John Rankin, softball athlete Mr. Kennard Dawson, former pro volleyball player Ms. Sharonda Pickering and the National Women’s 3×3 Basketball team players, Ms. Joy Victor, Ms. Shaliqua Fahie, Ms. Kiara Woodley, Ms. Jolene Bowens and Ms. Keithrece Smith. The 3×3 basketball team will be participating at the inaugural Caribbean Games this week in Guadeloupe and also will make up the historic team to represent the BVI at basketball at the Commonwealth Games for the first time this summer in Birmingham, UK.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool representing the BVI National Anti-Doping Organisation was in attendance and spoke with athletes, coaches and parents on the relevance of the anti-doping regulations in athletes’ lives and in playing clean sports.

The BVI Public Health Promotions Unit represented by Ms. Sophia Brewely-Massiah, Ms. Harmonie Massiah, Ms. Patrice Maduro was a popular addition to this year’s event where people took part in a hands-on presentation to receive a personalised recommendation on creating balanced meals based on current level of activity and eating habits. The team also helped individuals to interpret and understand their body measurements and how to set realistic goals with a balance of food and exercise.

His Excellency Governor John Rankin shared words of encouragement and took part in some of the activities including the BVIAA obstacle course and Archery’s practice drill.

“I’m all in support of events and sports that will get our community active, no matter the age or ability and I’m very pleased to have had a go. If I can do it, so can you!” said H.E. Governor Rankin.

“I play basketball but I tried some of the other sports today and really enjoyed them,” said 6th grader Antoine Reilly. “I’m glad I came out. I had to ask my Dad to come back for me later than planned as I was having so much fun!”

In the Multipurpose complex a new basketball recruit was pitching her skills against the national squad. “I’m a softball player but now that the Industrial League has drawn to a close, I was looking to try another sport just to stay active. I’m an NBA fan and watch the games on TV so I decided to actually play the sport and, just a week in, I can say I’m really enjoying it,” said Ms. Shah.

“Thank you to all the National Federations who participated, to those who came out in support and to our drink sponsor Road Town Wholesale, distributor of Coca-Cola products Dasani water and Powerade for making this a fun event,” said Mr. Penn.

During the Sports Festival weekend, three National Federations hosted events. The BVI Squash Rackets Association hosted the highest caliber Professional Squash Association international tournament of the territory to date, BVI Rugby Football Union hosted a junior rugby game followed by a Senior 15s match while the BVI Cycling Federation conducted its UCI sanctioned National Time Trial and Road Race events.

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, Friendship and Peace while celebrating the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.

See more photos on Facebook: https://bit.ly/sportsfestival2022

BVIOC announces team for inaugural Caribbean Games

BVIOC announces the BVI team for the inaugural Caribbean Games to be held June 29 – July 3, 2022 in Guadeloupe. The Team includes 11 track and field athletes and 4 basketball players. (L-R front row): Steve Augustine, President, BVI Athletics Association, Ralston Henry, Chef de Mission, Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC, Honourable Sharie de Castro, Minister for Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, Lloyd Black, Secretary General, BVIOC. (L-R back row) Chester Levi James, Physio, Beyonce Defreitas (100, 4×100), Shauliqua Fahie (3×3), Joy Victor, 3×3 basketball Coach, Djimon Gumbs (shot put), Malik Romney (110 hurdles), Malik John (400, 4×100), Diamante Gumbs (shot put), Arianna Hayde (long jump, triple jump, javelin, 4×100), Mikkel Bassue (100, 4×100), Kiara Woodley (3×3). Absent Jolene Bowens (3×3), Keithrece Smith (3×3), Xiomara Malone (long jump, 4×100), Ke’Andrae Campbell (100, 4×100), Zara Brown (100, 4×100) and Vadley Sylvester JR (400, 4×100). PHOTO CREDIT: CM Farrington

The BVI Olympic Committee announced the team of 15 athletes that will be representing the BVI at the inaugural Caribbean Games which are scheduled to take place in Guadeloupe from June 29 to July 3, 2022.

The athletes who will compete in the regional U23 Games were introduced by the Chef De Mission Ralston Henry at a press conference held on June 21 at the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports.

The 11 track and field athletes include Ke’Andrae Campbell (100, 4×100), Malik Romney (110 hurdles), Diamante Gumbs (shot put), Djimon Gumbs (shot put), Malik John (400, 4×100), Beyonce Defreitas (100, 4×100), Zara Brown (100, 4×100), Arianna Hayde (long jump, triple jump, javelin, 4×100), Xiomara Malone (long jump, 4×100), Mikkel Bassue (100, 4×100) and Vadley Sylvester JR (400, 4×100). They will be accompanied by coaches Ericca Fredrick and Eric Matthias J and physiotherapist Chester James.

The 3×3 basketball team comprises Kiara Woodley, Shauliqua Fahie, Jolene Bowens and Keithrece Smith. They will be accompanied by Coach Joy Victor.

Beyonce de Freitas will be the flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony which kicks off the Games at 7:00pm on Thursday, June 29.

“We are very excited to be sending a competitive team of track and field athletes as well as our historic 3×3 Women’s Basketball team, who are the first set of female athletes to be representing the territory in the sport in a regional event,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “Beyonce de Freitas and Djimon Gumbs returned as medalists from the the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in 2017. They did us proud then so we have high expectations that we may hear the Territorial Song for the first time at a major Games on this occasion.”

Honourable Sharie De Castro, Minister for Education, Culture and Youth Affairs shared remarks on the occasion. “It’s a great feeling when we send our athletes as ambassadors to the region and the world to celebrate and to show their Virgin Islands pride,” said Honourable de Castro. “We know, and are appreciative of, the hard work that it takes to prepare for Games such as these we want to put the full force of our population behind you in cheering you on and supporting you. On behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands, we offer our full support behind Team BVI.”

The Minister went on to thank the BVIOC, the National Federations and the DYAS for the continued initiatives – the funding and the development that allow the athletes to continue to thrive.

29 countries will be represented by approximately 800 athletes and 200 officials competing in 7 disciplines.

The 7 sports include Athletics, Basketball 3×3, Cycling, Futsal, Judo, Netball and Swimming. The BVI will be represented in Athletics and Basketball 3×3.

The Chef de Mission will depart for Guadeloupe on June 25 ahead of the athletes, coaches and President of the BVIOC who will leave for the Caribbean Games on June 27.

The Closing Ceremony will be at 7:00pm on Sunday, July 3. The Games can be followed live on Panam Sports Channel.

BVI secures 2nd draw against Cayman in CONCACAF Nations League

GEORGETOWN, CAYMAN ISLANDS. JUNE 6th: Teamphoto of British Virgin Islands during the match between Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands as part of the 2022 Concacaf Nations League held at the Truman Bodden stadium in Georgetown, Cayman Islands. (PHOTO BY CESAR D PAULI/CONCACAF/STRAFFON IMAGES/MANDATORY CREDIT/EDITORIAL USER/NOT FOR SALE/NOT ARCHIVE)

A tremendous second half performance saw the BVI Men’s National Football team battle back from a goal down to secure another 1-1 draw against Cayman Islands in the CONCACAF Nations League Group C action on Monday in George Town, Cayman.

There was little to separate the teams at the Truman Bodden Stadium, with the same end result meaning both teams have a pair of points ahead of clashes with Puerto Rico.

Early chances were squandered by both teams as Jamie Wilson saw his curling free kick safely smothered by the Cayman’s keeper, Albertini Hollness. Then, the home side had an excellent chance in the 10th minute, with Corey Smith sending a left-footed ball to the back post that was headed on goal by Jabari Campbell. Daniel Gilford made a point blank save, deflecting the ball onto the post and Jerry Wiltshire was on hand to complete the clearance.

The hosts went ahead in the 23rd minute from the penalty spot, when Trey Ebanks was pulled down in the box by Christian Javier, and Jonah Ebanks stepped up to convert to the left of Gilford.

Whatever words BVI Coach, Chris Kiwomya used at halftime showed immediate effect though as just seconds after the second half resumed, Wilson scored the equaliser. Luka Chalwell found Tyler Forbes with a slide rule pass into space ahead of the forward and he avoided the lunging tackle of Josua Frederick to put in a cross to the far post. Chalwell had continued his run and rose to nod the ball back across goal where Wilson was waiting, and although the keeper blocked his initial header, he reacted quickest to fire home the loose ball.

“The tactical changes in the first half worked and so did the plan to make more passes in the second half,” said Kiwomya. “We changed things a bit at the break, scored the goal and could have won the game. However, it’s small strides and the players are beginning to understand more and more about what is expected. We were forced to make changes, bringing on the likes of Quelani (Nickie) and Jake (Forbes), but kept our shape which was pleasing.”

“It always means so much more to me when I score for the BVI,” beamed Wilson. “I love representing the nation and all the people in it. I hope that they are proud of the performance that the boys put in. We created better opportunities to score, and our defensive set up has been highly effective. We can be a very stubborn team to break down; we have some big characters in the team and the future on the international stage is moving in the right direction in my opinion… onto Puerto Rico!”

“What character!” exclaimed FA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton. “We had to come back from goal down and gave debuts to two more youngsters in Quelahni Nickie and Jake Forbes. Onwards and upwards we go!”

Cayman Islands’ Joshewa Frederick Charlery had a chance for a winner just five minutes from the final whistle, coming forward and getting his head on a free kick, but it went wide and the teams shared a point.

“We got off to a good start and stuck to the game plan,” said Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville. “An individual error gifted them a goal early, but we stuck in their and got our reward in the second half. We had chances to win the game in the second period and in the end showed great resolve to hold on and have to be pleased with a point on the road.”

Both teams now turn their attention to group rival Puerto Rico, with Cayman Islands hosting El Huracan Azul on June 9 and the British Virgin Islands traveling to Puerto Rico for a June 12 contest.

BVI Men’s National Football team ready for first home game since 2016, against the Cayman Islands on Friday at the A.O. Shirley Ground in the CONCACAF Nations’ League

The hosts will be hoping that their second campaign yields more positive results than the first, which saw them finish bottom of the group despite some promising moments.

The Caymans, on the other hand, are eyeing promotion after narrowly missing out on League B last time around when they finished tied for first in their group but lost out to Barbados on goal differential.

Veteran Mark Ebanks has been banging them in for the Cayman Islands for over a decade and remains one of the top scoring threats on the team. He scored the goal in the Cayman Islands’ 1-1 draw with Bermuda during 2022 World Cup qualifying last year.

For the British Virgin Islands, most eyes will be on Tyler Forbes. Forbes impressed during the previous Nations’ League as a teenager, scoring three times and emerging as a young leader in the squad.

The two sides last met at the senior level during the first round of the 2005 Caribbean Cup, when the Cayman Islands edged a 1-0 victory.

Effectively the game sees the start of a new four-year cycle for the squad with many graduates of the BVI Football Association Youth Programs cementing their places and some making their debuts.

“It is a deliberate move and a policy of the BVIFA to introduce the youths to senior football,” said BVIFA president, Mr. Andy Bickerton. “The strategy has been to get our most promising youths overseas to not only play but gain education through study and the number of young players breaking through shows the idea has worked.”

Also, new Head Coach, Chris Kiwomya, will be in the dugout for his first competitive game since taking over the reins. “We have held camps during the buildup, and I am happy and confident with the composition of the squad. We are here to compete, play to our strengths, and how to win the game,” said Coach Kiwomya.

Kiwomya has been watching the younger players as well as the senior players and talking to all the local coaches to fully understand who can achieve what at this level.

“We have had to be careful with the players and the intensity of training, but we are taking each day at a time especially with games coming in a short time frame and assessing everyone before narrowing down to the final squad,” said Coach Kiwomya. “We must not get too far ahead of ourselves, it is a fresh start and there will be ups and downs, the players have to get the fans excited by their performance and over the next 18 months or so we can move forward, make progress and be a real force.”

After Friday, the squad heads off to the Cayman Islands for the return fixture on Monday, June 6 followed by a match against Puerto Rico on June 12.

Troy Caesar is also back as Captain having been unavailable for the more recent World Cup qualifiers. “We are here to compete, and it is great to see the camaraderie that flows throughout the players,” said Caesar. “Once we all listen and understand what the Coach wants us to do, then we will come out with a victory.”

Ikyjah Williams has already played at senior level, having starred for the U20’s and is now joined by many of his teammates from the tournament held in the Dominican Republic. “I’m excited for the game, I know we will compete, impress the Coach, and play to win!” said Williams.

Goalkeeper, Daniel Gilford has also been promoted to first choice between the sticks having been in and around the senior squad without getting a game. “Becoming first choice, I won’t let anyone down and have been working hard, like everyone said we are here to compete,” said Gilford.

“The BVIFA is really excited by being able to play home games again,” said Bickerton. “We are still working on the stadium at East End and once that is done there will be more games at home. For now, we are working with the Recreation Trust to host games, and are very thankful for their support, but playing home games is really important so the public can see the progress we are making.”

The game against Cayman Islands kicks off at 4pm on Friday 3rd June at the A.O. Shirley Ground. Adult tickets are just $10 and Children U12 just $5.

The full squad includes Mekhi Walters, Gilford, Ceasar, Jerry Wiltshire, Phil Nelson, Denvin Jones, Miguel Marshall, Justin Smith, Christian Javier, Giovanni Grant, Williams, Makimbo Demming, Quelani Nickie, T’Sharne Gallimore, Jamie Wilson, Liam Blok, Carlos Septus, Tyler Forbes, Luka Chalwell, Jake Forbes, Luca Reich, Levon Williams, Alejandro Santos, Tai Thomas, Gethin Jones.

Over $12k in scholarships awarded at 2022 National Archery in the Schools Programme (NASP) Tournament

The Virgin Islands Archery Association (VIAA) hosted the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Nationals on May 20, 2022 at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. 22 students took part representing 2 schools – the Ciboney Center for Excellence in Virgin Gorda and Cedar International on Tortola. 

The VIAA was able give $12,200.00 in scholarship proceeds, trophies, plaques and medallions. Two prize bows were awarded to the Top Boy and the Top Girl. To date, the program has awarded $52,200.00 in scholarship monies.

  Girls

PlacementNameSchoolAmount won
1st Place & Top GirlEva FoxCiboney Center$ 2,160.00
2nd PlaceEva Carey Cedar International$ 1,620.00
3rd PlaceAva GhiorseCedar International$ 730.00
4th PlaceEmily TupperCedar International$ 525.00
5th PlaceKhalia SergeantCedar International$ 465.00

 Boys

PlacementNameSchoolAmount won
1st Place & Top BoyValentin ZahrebelnyjCiboney Center$ 2,160.00
2nd PlaceBenjamin MooreCiboney Center$ 1,620.00
3rd PlaceSheylon BrownCiboney Center$ 730.00
4th PlaceNicholas MooreCiboney Center$ 525.00
5th PlaceNoah CottreauCedar International$ 465.00

Eva Fox, an archer of two years who won Top Girl, was interviewed by Dean the Sportsman Greenaway. She stated that she “was surprised to win because these other girls are really good and I think they are awesome. I didn’t expect to be walking away with $2,160!” Eva attributed her success to the support from her mother, coach and friends and summed up her experience as “fun and I got to meet new people.”

When Eva Carey, who secured 2nd place, was interviewed, she also expressed her surprise “because everyone here is really amazing that I thought I would not do this well.” When asked what helped her to get second place, she said, “I think my coaches, my friends to support me but also my mentality. I just kept thinking, I can do this, I can do this and I think that really helped.” Eva plans to compete again next year.

Ava Ghiorse, a Cedar School student who took up the sport a year ago secured 3rd place and observed that “everyone had really good ability with the bow, so I was just not expecting to win a prize.”

This year’s Top Boy, Valentin Zahrebelnyj from Ciboney, defended his 2021 title although it was an unexpected win as he thought that teammate Benjamin Moore would get it. “I think he deserves it a lot because he worked hard for it also,” said Valentin who has been an archer for 3 years. “It was a pretty difficult win as there were some pretty good people on the field and putting up some pretty good numbers out there.”

Benjamin Moore was interviewed next and noted that his 2nd spot finish was an improvement on the last NASP tournament. He commented that the $1,620 prize was unexpected and that “it is a lot of money for my age at least.” 

Sheylon Brown finished in 3rd place and said that “for me it is a shock, because I did not do so well last time. I finished 5th place and I am happy I got the chance to win scholarship money.”

This year had an additional bonus element to it, with a lucky scholarship dip for four students in the amount of $300 each. The recipients were Emily Tupper of Cedar, Noah Fox from Ciboney, Ava Ghiorse from Cedar and Valentin Zahrebelnyj from Ciboney.

The NASP National Coordinator, Ritseeniyah Georges, was interviewed by Dean the Sportsman Greenaway who inquired why the public schools did not participate and why only two schools competed in this year’s event. Ms. Georges explained that the VIAA can only only work with the schools which are utilizing the program as part of their in-school PE curriculum.

“Once Archery is taught within a school system, that school becomes eligible to compete in the NASP National Tournament,” said Ms. Georges. “This program is geared toward encouraging the archers to continue education after their high school graduation.” 

In addition to Ciboney Educational Center in Virgin Gorda and Cedar International School the other schools which have previously participated in the programme are the Elmore Stoutt High School, VI School of Technical Studies and the Bregado Flax Secondary School in Virgin Gorda. 

The VIAA thanks its annual sponsors of NASP – Kobre & Kim (BVI) LP and Caribbean Security – whose continued support provides funding for the scholarships. 

The VIAA invites community support of its multi-talented youths in pursuit of a tertiary education by contacting the association through its website www.archeryvi.org