5th annual Sports Festival and walks celebrate Olympic Day as BVIOC marks the 40th anniversary of Olympic Games participation

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with its member National Federations and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports (DYAS) and in partnership with the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, will host the 5th annual free Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day. The event will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2024, across Tortola and include activities on Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada. This family-friendly festival is open to the public of all ages and abilities.

This year’s celebration is particularly special as it marks the 40th anniversary of the Virgin Islands’ (UK) first appearance at the Olympic Games. In 1984, the territory was represented by speed skater Erroll “Canute” Fraser at the Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games and a team of four track and field athletes and five sailors at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. The athletics team members included Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Guy Hill, Dean Greenaway, and Jerry Molyneaux, while the sailing team featured Robin Tattersall, Elvet Meyers, Keith Thomas, Keith Barker and the late Peter Barker. These past Olympians will be honored at the event.

Sports Festival Highlights

This year’s Sports Festival will be hosted from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the HLSCC campus grounds in Paraquita Bay, returning to the original site of the festival’s launch in 2012. A partnership with the college was agreed for co-hosting Olympic Day events, underscoring the relationship between the BVIOC and the HLSCC through the swimming pool project.

Interactive stations at the college grounds include archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, netball, softball and squash. The BVI Anit-Doping Commission and health and nutrition advisors will also be on site.

The Department of Culture will be showcasing an interactive maritime historical display with the Maritime Museum open for visits. The Heritage Dancers will continue to build on their participation with lessons in some of the VI’s traditional dance steps.

Additional activities will take place simultaneously at Brandywine Bay Beach with aquatic and marine sports including sailing and swimming stations, alongside beach sports hosted by the volleyball, rugby and football federations.

DYAS will be hosting corporate competitions with points to be accrued for the winner’s title.

Walk/runs will take place from 6:30am on Virgin Gorda starting at the VG Recreation Ground and on Anegada starting at the Claudia Creque Educational Centre. On Jost Van Dyke, the walk/run will start at 5:30am from the Albert Chinnery Admin Building, Great Harbour.

“Sports Festival is designed to showcase various sports and encourage the public to move, learn and discover as they try out different activities they can incorporate into their lifestyle for better fitness and health,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. “There is a lot on offer, and it most definitely is a great opportunity for everyone in the family to get involved together. I encourage all to join us for a day of fun, fitness, and celebration of the Olympic spirit!”

Olympic Year Celebrations

2024 is an Olympic year, and the BVI will be represented at the Paris 2024 Games by two outstanding athletes: Kyron McMaster OBE OLY, a 400m hurdles 2x Commonwealth Games champion and World Athletics Championship silver medalist, and ILCA7 (laser) sailor Thad Lettsome. Chef de Mission Tahesia Harrigan-Scott will attend the Olympic Day celebrations with updates on the preparation for the Games with VI designer, Kristin Fraser unveiling the Opening Ceremony wear for the BVI team at Paris 2024.

Event attendees will have the chance to receive Olympic Day tee shirts (subject to availability) and enjoy Coca-Cola products including Dasani water and Powerade.

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.

More information on Olympic Day and the event can be found here.

Djimon Gumbs, Rikkoi Brathwaite win bronze medals at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games. Final events coming up.

Five athletes in two sports represented the Virgin Islands (UK) non July 3 at the San Salvador 2023 CAC Games.

In Track and field events at the Estadio Nacional Jorge “El Magic” Gonzales, Djimon Gumbs, in his first appearance at a CAC Games, won the first medal for the VI at the 24th edition of the Games with a bronze in the shot put after hurling a distance of 19.00m (62.34ft) in his third attempt.

Eldred Henry OLY – shot put National Record holder (21.47m /70.44ft) – placed 6th in the shot put final with a best distance of 18.12m (59.45ft) during his 3rd attempt. Henry had won the territory’s first shot put medal at the CAC Games with a hurl of 20.18m (66.21ft) during his debut at Barranquilla 2018.

Sprinter Rikkoi Brathwaite went on to secure the territory’s second medal at the San Salvador 2023 with a bronze medal win in the 100m in a time of 10.26 seconds. Brathwaite had placed 1st in his heat with a time of 10.29 seconds a couple of hours earlier in his maiden race at the CACs.

The first ever medal for the BVI at a CAC Games was won in the very same stadium in 2002 by Dion Crabbe in the 100m with a then national record time of 10.28 seconds. Brathwaite would go on to break the record with a time of 10.20 seconds achieved at the 2022 NACAC Open Championships, Freeport, Bahamas.

“We knew that the competition field at San Salvador 2023 would be tough with strong contenders for medals and we couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments of Djimon Gumbs and Rikkoi Brathwaite,” said BVI Olympic President Ephraim Penn. “With 2 more days of competition to come, we wish our athletes all the best in their events.”

Athletes who also were competing at San Salvador 2023 on July 3 included Beyoncé Defreitas who debuted in heat 3 of the 100m semi finals to place 4th with a non-advancing time of 11.84 seconds. Defreitas will compete again in the 200m on July 5.

Archer Ritseeniyah Georges, who had competed in the first round of the women’s compound individual event at the Poligogo de Tiro con Arco Ciudad Merliot on July 2, lost 123 – 148 against Andrea Becerra (Mexico) in the elimination round. Georges had an average of 8.2 out of 10 compared to Becerra’s average of 9.9. Georges is the first archer to represent the VI at a major Games with her appearance at San Salvador 2023.

Deya Erickson made her second appearance at a CAC Games competing in the 100m hurdles semi finals on July 4. Her time of 13.92 for a fifth place finish qualified her to move on to the finals on July 5.

Also competing on July 5 are Jaleel Croal, who debuts at the CACs in the 200m semi finals. Twin brothers Djimon and Diamanté Gumbs will compete in the discus. This is also the first CAC games for the Diamanté Gumbs.

“Congratulations on great performances,” said Chef de Mission Gloria Fahie. “They are the beginning of greater accomplishments yet to come!”

Henry, Brathwaite and Georges along with archery coach Winnette Lawrence and technician Xavier Buxo depart El Salvador on July 6. ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome and coach Chris Watters left on July 2 after Lettsome qualified for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games with an overall 6th place in his event.

The BVI has won medals at every CAC Games since 2002 including 5 gold medals – 3 in the 100m by Dion Crabbe at San Salvador 2022, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott at Cartagena de Indias 2006 and Mayaguez 2010; 1 in long jump by Chantel Malone at Vera Cruz 2014 and 1 in the 400m hurdles by Kyron McMaster at Barranquilla 2018. Malone also won silver in long jump at Barranquilla 2018.

The BVI Delegation to the San Salvador 2023 CAC Games included 9 athletes in 3 sports. Missing from photo are ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome and coach Chris Watters.

Community Learns, Moves and Discovers at 4th annual Sports Festival celebrating Olympic Day

Adults and children celebrated Olympic Day with activities on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 24.

The 4th annual free Sports Festival organised by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) took place at the A. O. Shirley Grounds. The morning event, featuring 14 activity stations hosted by National Federations and the BVI Heritage Dancers, was abuzz with excitement and energy. Moving from one sport to the next, attendees of all ages and abilities shot, ran, pitched, dunked, cycled, volleyed, side-stepped, kicked and danced their way around the field.

BVIOC 1st Vice President Sabinah Clement opened the morning with the “Let’s Move” invitation from International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. The call was to discover an inspiring activity to incorporate as a daily movement to optimise physical and mental wellbeing.

“Olympic Day is an annual celebration focused on improving the quality of life of our community. The annual Sports Festival, brought to life by our national federations, and the events across the sister islands hosted by LTAD ambassadors, provide a window of opportunity for everyone to move together and discover an array of activities from walking to dancing for a happier and healthier lifestyle,” said Ms. Clement. “I encourage you to use the morning to learn, move and discover.”

His Excellency the Governor Mr. John Rankin leant his voice to the call to action, citing in particular his support of events that get the youth engaged and active. Highlighting the remarkable achievements of the sports-men and -women of the Virgin Islands, Governor Rankin made special mention of 400m hurdles Commonwealth champion Kyron McMaster, sprint phenomenon Adaejah Hodge and the NBA draft D’Moi Hodge recently signed to the L.A. Lakers – the roll call indicating an unusual wealth of talent per capita to be discovered and developed starting at events such as the Sports Festival.

BVIOC Athlete Representative and Athletes’ Association Chair, Olympian Ashley Kelly echoed the encouragement to get active.

Participating National Federations included the Virgin Islands Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Basketball Federation in collaboration with Mr. Milton McClean, BVI Cycling Federation, BVI Rugby Football Union, BVI Royal Yacht Club for sailing, Virgin Islands Softball/Baseball Association, BVI Squash Rackets Association, Boynes Taekwondo Academy, BVI Triathlon Federation and the Virgin Islands Volleyball Association. The Netball association also was represented while the BVI Heritage Dancers participated for the first time this year. Each station host reported signing up new recruits to their sport and dance troupe.

Dr. Harlan Vanterpool and Dr. Ryan Kelly, representing the BVI National Anti-Doping Commission, were in attendance to speak on the anti-doping regulations and clean sports.

The San Salvador 2023 CAC Games’ 9 athletes and coaches attending the first major Games of the year were also acknowledged and congratulated on making the team. In person at the Sports Festival were the Gumbs twins – Djimon (shot put and discus) and Diamante (discus) and Ritseeniyah Georges (compound archery), who all make their first appearances at a CAC Games. The VI will also be represented in track and field by Olympian Eldred Henry, Rikkoi Brathwaite, Beyonce Defreitas, Deya Erickson and Jaleel Croal and ILCA 7 laser sailor Thad Lettsome.

The Trident 10K Championship and Olympic Day 10k, 5k and 1k Race kicked off at 6:30am on Tortola as the community on Virgin Gorda took part in a walk/run followed by a friendly game of softball. Early risers joined in a roundtrip walk from Great Harbour to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.

BVIOC President, Ephraim Penn, who was in El Salvador for the Centro Caribe Sports AGM ahead of the opening of the 24th CAC Games, acknowledged the contributions of the station hosts, sponsors and event supporters for a successful day. “The Executive Board is pleased with the collaborative effort between the BVIOC, National Federations and community groups to celebrate Olympic Day and act in unity for the greater good,” said Mr. Penn.

Sponsors and supporters included Road Town Wholesale, distributor of Coca-Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, and the National Bank of the Virgin Islands.

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 together for peace.

Browse the full gallery of photos on Facebook.

9 athletes to represent Virgin Islands in 3 sports at San Salvador 2023 CAC Games

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) has confirmed that 9 athletes from 3 sports will represent the Virgin Islands at the 24th Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, El Salvador from June 23 – July 8, 2023.
 
The team comprising 4 track and 3 field athletes, 1 sailor and 1 archer will arrive in El Salvador between June 22 and July 1 ahead of their events. Chef de Mission, Gloria Fahie arrives in San Salvador on June 21 ahead of the athletes in preparation for their arrival. BVIOC President Ephraim Penn is in San Salvador to attend the Centro Caribe Sport AGM before the Opening Ceremony.
 
“This year’s CAC Games are seen as an important qualifying and ranking opportunity for athletes from all sports we can expect to see some tough competition,” said President Penn. “It will be the first time that archery will be represented at these Games and the second time for sailing since 1993 in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Athletics has seen representation since the VI’s first participation in the CACs in 1982 and has included softball, squash, triathlon and cycling. This historic achievement for archery is a promising trajectory for the development of different sports in the Territory and brings to fruition one of the BVIOC’s missions for this quadrennial to have more sports compete at major Games.”
 
Laser sailor Thad Lettsome, competing in the ILCA 7 men’s single person dinghy event, is the first of the VI’s team to compete when the sailing events start on Saturday, June 24 at Lake Ilpongo. Lettsome is also selected to be the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony on Friday, June 23.
 
Archer Ritseeniyah Georges will compete in the Women’s Compound Individual starting Sunday, July 2 at 9:00am at the Polígono de Tiro con Arco Ciudad Merliot.
 
Track athletes include Rikkoi Brathwaite in the 100m semi-finals starting at 5:00pm and Beyonce Defreitas in the 100m semi-finals starting at 5:30pm on Monday, July 3; Deya Erickson in the 100m hurdles semi-finals starting at 5:45pm, Tuesday, July 4; Jaleel Croal in the 200m semi-finals starting at 5:00pm and Beyonce Defreitas in the 200m semi-finals starting at 5:30pm on Wednesday, July 5.
 
The all-men field athletes comprise Olympian Eldred Henry and twins Djimon and Diamante Gumbs. Henry and Djimon Gumbs will compete in the shot put final on Monday, July 3 starting at 5:25pm. Djimon and Diamante Gumbs will compete in the discus final on Wednesday, July 5 starting at 6:55pm.
 
While San Salvador 2023 will be the first CAC Games for 7 of the athletes, it will be the second appearance for Henry, who won the territory’s first shot put medal in a CAC games when he placed 3rd with a distance of 20.18m at Barranquilla 2018 and for Erickson who made her debut at the same games in the 100m hurdles.
 
In addition to the Chef de Mission Gloria Fahie and President Penn, the VI delegation to San Salvador 2023 includes Erwin “Redz” Telemaque (athletics coach), Winnette Lawrence (archery coach), Xavier Buxo (archery technician), Chris Watters (sailing coach) and Chester James (Physiotherapist).
 
The VI will be one of 37 countries represented at the CAC Games. The games, under the auspices of Centro Caribe Sports, will feature 57 disciplines in 37 sports taking place over 16 days. The Games, under the theme “It’s time to transcend”, will be broadcast live on the Centro Caribe Sports Channel on YouTube.
 
The CAC Games are the oldest continuous running regional games dating back to 1926. Held every four years, the Games typically host competitors from countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Bermuda and the South American countries of Suriname, Guyana, Colombia and Venezuela. The San Salvador 2023 Games were originally slated to be held in Panama in 2022. 30 sports will take place in El Salvador and 7 will take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
 
The CAC Games are considered the starting point of international competition for athletes from the region who are seeking to represent their countries at the Olympic level. They are designed to provide a step between sub-CAC region Games held the first year following a Summer Olympics and the Pan American Games, which are held before the Summer Olympic. The next Pan American Games are slated to take place in Santiago, Chile October 20 – November 5, 2023.

More information on the San Salvador 2023 Games can be found on their website.

Follow the BVIOC page on FaceBook for regular updates and results.

“Let’s Move” invitation to 4th annual Sports Festival and walk/runs celebrating Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in collaboration with its member National Federations will host the 4th free annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturday, June 24. The event will be preceded by the Trident Trust Championship and Olympic Day race with a 10k, 5k and 1k run/walk starting from the grounds at 6:30am. Walks will take place on Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke at 6:30am and at 5:30am respectively.
 
The roundtrip walk/run from the recreational field in Spanish Town to the Baths will culminate with a friendly softball game on the fields on Virgin Gorda. For people on Jost Van Dyke, the dawn walk will start from the Albert Chinnery Administration Building in Great Harbour to the Soggy Dollar parking lot in White Bay and return to Great Harbour.
 
The events across the islands will mark Olympic Day which is internationally recognised each year on June 23.  This year, the International Olympic Committee has themed the event “Let’s Move”.
 
The world is moving faster than ever, but people are moving less. Research has found that one in four adults and over 80% of young people are not able to meet the recommended minimum activity levels needed for optimum health (WHO, 2022).
 
“Encouraging physical activity throughout the wider community is one of the remits the BVIOC has been working on through the Long Term Athlete Development programme,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “Our Olympic Day celebrations through the Sports Festival has embraced the concept of helping people of all ages and abilities to move by finding an activity that appeals to them. Walking is also an activity that’s easy to do and the community walks help to remind people of the pleasure and satisfaction of that exercise. We are pleased that our LTAD partners in Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke are helping to promote the message.”
 
The walk/runs on VG, JVD and the early morning run/walk on Tortola hosted by the BVI Runners, the road racing affiliate of the BVIAA, is a traditional global Olympic Day event.
 
The collaboration on Tortola with the different National Federations, the National Anti-Doping Commission, the Public Health Unit and, new for this year, the BVI Heritage Dancers, provides an opportunity for the public on Tortola to combine discovering an activity that they can engage in, understand what is meant by “clean sports” and learn about optimizing their nutritional intake.
 
The morning will feature interactive stations suitable for adults and children alike. Skills can be tested in archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, rugby, sailing, softball, squash, taekwondo, triathlon and volleyball. Director of Culture, Dr. Katherine Smith will provide insight to the history of the dances to be taught by the BVI Heritage Dancers. Olympian and chair of the BVI Athletes’ Commission, Ashley Kelly will run an outdoor fitness circuit and host Olympian Q & A sessions. Dr. Harlan Vanterpool, Chief Anti-doping Officer will speak about clean sport and the importance of understanding prescription and over the counter medication as well as the impact of recreational drug usage. Ms. Patrice Maduro of the Public Health Unit will be providing guidance on health and nutrition.
 
Free Olympic Day tee shirts on registration and subject to availability and complimentary Coca Cola products Dasani water, and Powerade will be provided courtesy of Road Town Wholesale.
 
In the run up to Sports Festival and in marking Olympic Day values, National Federations are hosting training sessions which the public are welcome to join in as follows:
·       Archery at the HLSCC, Paraquita Bay – 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday June 18.
·       Athletics at the A.O.Shirley Recreation Grounds 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Saturday, June 17;
·       Squash will host an open session with visiting professional players at the Tortola Sports Club starting at 3:30pm on Monday, June 19.
·       Rugby will have a training session with visiting professional rugby player, ex All Black, Norm Maxwell at 6:00pm on Wednesday, June 21 at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds.
·       Taekwondo will host open sessions for youths Monday, June 19 through Thursday, June 22 at 3:30pm – 4:30pm and 5;00pm:45pm – 6:45pm. Adult sessions will take place on Monday and Thursday, 7:00pm – 8:00pm.
More information on these sessions can be sought from the National Federations whose contact details can be found on www.bviolympics.org.
 
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.

Athletes, coaches and medics benefit from Anti-Doping and Sports Nutrition Workshop

National Federations, athletes, coaches, medics and volunteers benefited from the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) free Anti-Doping and Sports Nutrition Workshop held in the Eileen Parsons Auditorium at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, Tortola on Saturday morning, December 3. An anti-doping presentation was made in the evening at the Bregado Flax Educational Center on Virgin Gorda on Friday, December 2.

The workshops, supported by Olympic Solidarity, were held in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO), head quartered in Barbados and the Ministry of Health and Social Development through its Public Health Unit (PHU).

In brief remarks at the opening of the workshop at the HLSCC Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC said, “In recent years, the BVI has produced 2 Olympic finalists, a two-times Commonwealth Games and Diamond League Champion and a junior track and field phenomenon which has brought us to the attention of international organisations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“As both the National Olympic Committee and the National Anti-Doping Commission, we need to educate our national federations and their member athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers on the processes and expectations for clean sport since lack of knowledge is not accepted as an excuse in the event of a violation.”

President Penn also highlighted the importance of combining athletic performance with a healthy diet for optimal results. Honourable Marlon Penn, Minister for Health and Social Development expounded on the topic in his remarks.

“The Ministry for Health and Social Development, through its Public Health Unit, has an agenda that seeks to combat non-communicable diseases in the community and to encourage healthier lifestyles through physical activity and a diet rich in nutritional food. As athletes, it is even more important that you receive the right information that will help you to choose the right food that will help you maximise your output for the results you hope to achieve. I am pleased that the Ministry is positioned to provide this guidance.”

The educational workshops explained the anti-doping rules and regulations that guide WADA’s mandate for clean sports in all competitions sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. They included an introduction to the Anti-Doping Education and Learning Platform (ADEL) – the centralised platform offering educational solutions for athletes and coaches – and ADAMS (the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System) for processing and entering data in all anti-doping issues. ADAMS is used by athletes for submitting their whereabouts and can also be used to manage the application and recognition of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).

The engaging presentations were made by Ms. Marsha Boyce, Communications and Projects Coordinator for Caribbean RADO and Dr. Harlan Vanterpool MD, Chief Doping Control Officer for the BVI National Anti-Doping Commission.

“It was pleasing to see the enthusiasm and keen interest shown by participants during our interactive Clean Sport Workshops in Virgin Gorda and Tortola,” said Ms. Boyce who flew in from Barbados for the events. “Education is crucial to the success of the Clean Sport movement. It’s important for all athletes and athlete support personnel, for example coaches, managers, physios and doctors to be exposed to the right information and to have access to the relevant resources in the fight against doping in sport. We at the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization look forward to our continued partnership with the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee in support of its anti-doping programme.”

Building on the long-standing relationship with the Ministry of Health and Social Development to promote Long Term Athlete Development and health through physical literacy, the BVIOC worked with Ms. Patrice Maduro, Public Health Nutritionist and Ms. Harmonie Brewley-Massiah, National Epidemiologist of the Ministry’s Public Health Unit to share critical information on sports nutrition.

“We are keenly aware that BVI’s athletes need guidance and information on nutrition and to be able to make the distinction between good and bad – or ‘mal’ – nutrition,” said Ms. Brewley-Massiah and Ms. Maduro. “The session with the attendees – both adults and juniors – was not just an opportunity to share information but also a chance for us to get a measure of the level of awareness and dietary practices of this segment of the community. We plan to conduct more of these interactive programmes with athletes and to make sure that they have access to the support and resources to build and maintain a healthy diet that will lead to optimal physical and mental performance both on the field of play and at work or college.”

The session at the HLSCC was attended by representatives for archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, netball, sailing, softball/baseball, taekwondo and volleyball. In Virgin Gorda, the presentation was attended by coaches for athletics, basketball, cricket, football, softball and volleyball. Attendees across the board were enthusiastic and appreciative of the new information learned by the sessions.

“This was a really good workshop. We’ve learned a lot and we feel better prepared for what’s to come as we look towards entering the international competition arena in 2023,” said Sahbumnim Olanzo Boynes of Boynes Taekwondo Academy.

Clean sport and nutrition workshops respectively conducted by Dr. Harlan Vanterpool and the PHU can be arranged through the BVIOC. Contact 541-7845 for further information.

Virgin Islands Archery Association’s World Record Holder and Olympian Archers visit – Sunday, August 21, 2022

The Virgin Islands benefited from a visit by World Record holder in Compound Archery, Recurve and Compound, Coach Raymond Michael Gerard (better known as Mike) of St. Thomas, USVI, and Olympian and Archery Coach Tatyana Muntyan of St. Thomas, USVI.

The coaches came through the initial invitation of Virgin Islands Archery Federation (VIAF) in St. Thomas, USVI, who graciously extended the invitation to us in the Virgin Islands.

Mike has over 44 years of experience in the sport – shooting competitively since he was 14 years old – and now shares his love for the sport through coaching. He has won every major US Championship in Indoor, Field and Target Archery, except for 3D Archery. Currently he has the World Record for the youngest Archer that shot indoors and which he accomplished when he was 14 years old with a score of 598 out of 600. The closest anyone has gotten was a score of 596. He has trained several Junior Olympic Archery Olympians and Junior World team members. He serves on the National Coaches’ Development Committee and the Board of Justice of USA Archery. He has written articles for several magazines and has given numerous seminars on archery.

Tatyana came with a wealth of 35 years of experience in various disciplines in Archery and has shot at national tournaments in the US since 2015 and was part of the squad’s Olympic trials for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. World Archery Championships Silver Medalist, 2-times Individual Gold Medalist in Indoor Archery, Bronze Medalist in individual and teams in Indoor Archery and Silver Medalist in Field Archery. She has worked with National teams in the Ukraine, Romania, and France along with individual archers around the world.

Mike shared with the Compound Archers the information required for their discipline whilst Tatyana shared with the Recurve Archers the knowledge needed for their discipline, as both have different mechanisms that rely on completely different aspects of the sport.

VIAA President and Archery Coach Patrick Smith re-iterated a few key messages imparted by the two visiting Coaches including “Know your equipment”.

Coach Dwayne Donovan mentioned that he liked hearing about “magnetic resonance” and that to “tune into your body and not the people around you” were key lessons to be learned.

When the team of younger Archers were asked about their greatest take away, Shile David mentioned that “Coach Tatyana’s approach methods, specifically for warm up before, during and after along with the Archer’s form and shot process” really stood out.

Both visiting coaches were asked about their experience of working with the Archers in the BVI.

Tatyana responded by saying “It was amazing to practice for all of us. All of the people that I met, talked to, and practiced with, they are positive, they are coachable and teachable. That is very, very important! Coach Patrick and all of you did a great job to have that level of Archery in the BVI. I respect that very much.

Mike mentioned that “coming to the BVI was a fantastic experience. It took no time to see that the archers are “all in” with regards to enjoyment and growth in their abilities. Sky is the limit as a result!”

When asked, “What did you see as the greatest challenges and Strengths?”
Mike stated “the greatest strength is the commitment from both coaches and athletes and the respect shared throughout the team and the patience I witnessed. Everyone seems to enjoy each other. Low friction is huge and allows for unrestricted progress.”

“The biggest challenge is access to the equipment and information you need. Because you work harder for that, than many, the value is higher and appreciated. I believe you are doing well so far and on the right track.

Tatyana mentioned that “As you can see in the videos and pictures that I took during our 1-day practice, all the archers made a great form transformation in a short time. All the archers’ form transformation is possible because of my systematic training method that was developed by me from the decades of experience in archery as an Olympian, pro archer, and National level coach.”

They were asked “What goal would you like to see achieved by the team?”
Mike said that it “would be great to set up a monthly video conference with the team to discuss needs, challenges, and triumphs. The next move is to get the ability to compete remotely with other teams. This will inspire your inner greatness! It will add value to your hard work.”

The Archery team has its largest delegation to date gearing up to compete in the Caribbean Developmental Championships from September 6 through 8 and the CAC Games Qualifier from September 5 through 12, both in Santo Domingo, so this training was timely.

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

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

Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community in the BVI – Full Report

On May 3 and 4, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) in its capacity as the Commonwealth Games Association (BVICGA) hosted the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the Virgin Islands (UK). The Queen’s Baton toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda heralding the upcoming Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham, UK from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

The Queen’s Baton arrived from Dominica into the Terrence B. Lettsome International Airport on Monday, May 2 and was presented by Ms. Korlita Hamilton of the Dominica CGA to Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA.

The Welcome and Opening Ceremony on Tuesday, May 3 at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Games officially marked the start of Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI with remarks by His Excellency Governor John Rankin, the Honourable Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Penn, and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player.

The ceremony started with the Althea Scatliffe Striders Drum Corps and the entrance of the Queen’s Baton brought in by past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman. It was followed by a programme of recitals and performances of cultural and heritage significance curated by Dr. Katherine Smith, Director of the Department of Culture and presented by Poet Laureate Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC; author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Birmingham 2022 QBR Creative Programme Awardee; Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, Operations Manager, Virgin Islands Search & Rescue; the Comfoo Dance Ensemble; Leonora Delville Primary School; and the Razor Blades.

The relay through Road Town was started by the BVI Athletics Association Carifta 2022 athletes and Honourable Kye Rymer, District 5 Representative. The route followed a heritage trail and Baton handover stops starting from the Sugarworks Museum (Batonbearer D’Nila Thomas, student Althea Scatliffe Primary School), to the J. R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens (Batonbearer Ms. Vanessa King, O’Neal Webster), to the Sunday Morning Well (Batonbearer Mr. David Thomas, Clarence Thomas Ltd), to the E. Walwyn Brewley Ball Park (Batonbearers V I Softball Baseball Association), to the Elmore Stoutt High School (Batonbearer Jelani Croal, Grade 12, ESHS) to H.M. Prison Museum (Batonbearer Mr. Matthew Cowman, Walkers (BVI) Limited), to Midtown Restaurant (Batonbearers Caribbean Insurance Ltd), to the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park (Batonbearers representatives of the BVI Bank Association), to the Waterfront Drive traffic lights (Batonbearers Coralisle Group), to Sir Olva Georges Plaza (Batonbearers Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd) to the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly (Batonbearer, Mrs. Vicki Francis, Governor’s Office) to the Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the heritage and museum sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School where it was met with vigorous enthusiasm by the students, staff and faculty. The relay to the Manuel Reef Marina was led by Batonbearers Honourable Julian Fraser, District 3 Representative, Mr. Milton McClean, Youth Sports leader, and Jehu Adams, Grade 6, ETPS. Adams handed the Baton over to Royal BVI Yacht Club sailing federation youth sailor, William Sanders and Mr. Jamel Davies, Chairman of the Tortola Sloop Foundation who sailed the Baton to the beach at Nanny Cay where it was handed over to Mr. Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager, Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

The afternoon visit included a stop at Carrot Bay to recognise the Stoutt family of fishermen – father Albert and sons Zacchari and Andrew – who continue to supply the local community and restaurants with fish and lobster caught in the traditional and sustainable way of seine and line fishing and free diving.

The Queen’s Baton was then welcomed at the Leonora Delville Primary School joined by student and teacher representation from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School and celebrated with dance and a symbolic relay around the school field with Batonbearers Frank Chinnery (JVDPS).

Day 1 of the relay concluded with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where the pit owner, Mr. Palett explained the process for preparing, generating and harvesting charcoal in the traditional way.

An evening reception hosted by the Governor was attended by the Carifta 2022 athletes, Commonwealth Games athletes and representatives of the National Federations.

The second and final day of the Queen’s Baton Relay saw the Queen’s Baton and accompanying delegation transported to Virgin Gorda courtesy of the Royal Virgin Islands Marine Police and H.M. Customs. The visit included a warm welcome reception organised by the Primary and Secondary schools of the Bregado Flax Education Center with remarks by Secondary Principal Hilroy George, Honourable Shereen Flax-Charles, Honourable Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative, and Mr. Penn. Presentations were performed by the Woodwind Ensemble, the BEFC Trio and the BFEC Lions and Arabians Cheerleaders.

A visit to the school’s Edible Garden of the Green Sprouts Eco Club managed by Green and Clean VI was followed by a relay led by Batonbearers, brothers Mekhi Water (Grade 12) and Audony Gangoo (Grade 5) from the school to the Green VI Eco Park where all guests were given a tour and overview of the work undertaken at the site by Green VI in association with Green VI Bug Out and which speak to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The penultimate leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay took a route through East End and Long Look with heritage sites and handover stops starting at the Chapel Hill Methodist Church with a brief history shared by Dr. Lavon Chalwell-Brewely before Batonbearer Dean Greenaway led the relay to Penn’s Landing handing over to Honourable Marlon Penn, District 8 Representative.

From there the Queen’s Baton was run to the Willard Wheatley Primary School (Batonbearer Jacobi David) to the East End Police Station (Batonbearer Mrs. Sylvia Forbes) to the Francis Lettsome Primary School (Batonbearer Damir Dobson) to the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett where Batonbearer Mrs. Brenda Lettsome-Tye, Director Department of Youth Affairs and Sports led the relay to the Long Look Tennis and Education Center to hand over to the youth and senior Cycling Federation members who cycled the Queen’s Baton to the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College via YEP.

At the HLSCC, the Baton was handed over to Ms. Winnette Lawrence of the V I Archery Association who passed it on to Dr. Richard Georges, President of the HLSCC who handed over to the HLSCC Volleyball team. The Baton was then jogged across to the Maritime Museum by students of the Marine Studies before a handover to Phillipe Leroy, representing the BVI Triathlon Federation, who, followed by others, cycled the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of the relay which culminated at Brandywine Bay beach.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close when members of the BVI Rugby Federation received the Baton followed by handovers to the BVI Football Association and the VI Volleyball Association. Each of the three National Federations showcased their sports in demo games on the beach with a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt ending the sports before closing remarks by Mr. Penn, President of the BVICGA. The grand finale was a cultural presentation speaking to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections. Attendees were entertained and educated by songs, dances and story-telling performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The key stakeholders involved in the planning and hosting of events included the Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Departments of Culture, Education, and Youth Affairs and Sports, the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the BVI Tourist Board.

Event sponsors include the BVI Banking Association – Banco Popular, Bank of Asia, CIBC FirstCaribbean, FirstBank, National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Republic Bank, and VP Bank – Caribbean Insurance Ltd, Clarence Thomas Ltd, Coralisle Insurance (BVI) Ltd, O’Neal Webster, Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, Walkers, Harneys and JOMA Properties.

National Federations, schools, and community and social groups supported the event as volunteers and participants in the relays through the districts.

The BVICGA has hosted four Queen’s Baton Relays since 2005, the last one being in 2017 ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia where Kyron McMaster made history by winning the territory’s first Commonwealth Games medal with a gold in the 400m hurdles.

The VI is expecting to take its largest contingent yet to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with 19 athletes representing the territory in 5 sports – a first for the nation. 3×3 Basketball (Women’s Team) and Cycling will make their debut at a Commonwealth Games as the teams join athletes from track and field, squash and swimming.

The 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay touring through 72 Commonwealth nations and Overseas Territories will cover a distance of 140,000 kilometres over 269 days, traveling to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, before embarking on the final stretch of its journey across England for 25 days.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will complete its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022. This is a traditional and fundamental part of the Games and the Opening Ceremony, as the final Batonbearer will pass the Baton back to The Queen. The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth will then be removed from the Baton and read aloud, marking the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Photos of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay touring the BVI can be seen on the BVIOC’s Facebook page.

Student Batonbearers:

Althea Scatliffe School (ASPS), Road Town, Tortola
D’Niya Thomas (Handover at the Sugarworks Museum, Day 1)
D’Niya has represented for several years for Inter-Primary Spors. She has been the Victrix for Inter-House and Inter-Primary as well.

Elmore Stoutt High School, Road Town, Tortola (Day 1)
Jelani Croal
– Grade 12
Jelani was chosen because he is one of ESHS’ top athletes during the Inter-House competition and who went on to do very well at Carifta 2022

Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Jehu Adams
– Grade 6
Jehu is a hard-working, dedicated, disciplined and helpful young man who is the top Grade Six student for the Advent and Trinity terms of the 2021-2022 school year. Along with his classmates, he is actively involved in the process of planting and maintaining the crops in the school’s garden. He is also very much involved in anything that would enhance the lives of his classmate. Jehu is often involved in peer tutoring within the classroom. He has specifically been assigned to assist and mentor one of the ESL students. He assists him with in-class tasks, projects and homework whenever necessary.
Additionally, during the Lent term, Grade Six had started a recycling project. Jehu was actively involved in collecting, sorting and recording the data for the materials. He along with another student took the materials to the school’s recycling bins.
Jehu has proudly and effectively represented his school at various competitions and other extracurricular activities. Presently, he and another student are preparing to represent the school at the national spelling bee competition. Jehu’s self-less attitude and commitment to learning are admirable and examples to his peers.

Leonora Delville Primary School, Capoon’s Bay, Tortola (Day 1)
Mijael Jennings
(LDPS)
Kh’mahni Anthony (LDPS)
Frank Chinnery (Jost Van Dyke Primary School) – selected because he is an excellent athlete and the perfect representative for an event such as the Queen’s Baton Relay.

Bregado Flax Education Center, Virgin Gorda (Day 2)
BFEC Senior Division
Mekhi Water – Senior – Class of 2022
Mekhi is an all-round athlete excelling in Volleyball (BFEC) who also is the Football national U20 goalkeeper and of the VG United football club. He also is a Track and Field division winner. He is a diligent and committed student of the BFEC Senior School.

BFEC Primary Division
Audony Gangoo – Grade 5
Audony is one who we call a true Lion Ambassador. He puts his best foot forward in whatever he does. He is from a single parent home with 4 other siblings. This does not deter him from excelling in school, in sports and being one of our school ambassadors. Audony recently participated in the Inter-Primary Sports and ran in the 13+ category. Despite being pushed up to the older level, he persevered and came 2nd and 3rd in his races. He was determined to do his very best.

Currently, he is one of the top students in Grade 5, and he ensures that he continues is a positive influence for his peers.

Willard Wheatley Primary School, East End, Tortola (Day 2)
Jacobi David
– Grade 6
Jacobi has grown into a positive student. He is a good athlete and displays good sportsmanship. He continues to represent the school well in sports and never refuses when he is asked to do something. He is a team player and as this is his final year at WWPS, we feel he deserves the honour of carrying the Baton.

Francis Lettsome Primary School, Greenland, Tortola (Day 2)
Damir Dobson
– Grade 6
Damir is an enthusiastic 13-year-old, who excels in sports as one of his extracurricular endeavours. Damir is son to Earle Dobson and Glasmie Williamson. He represents his school at sporting events, and has been a top athlete, and proud Wildcat of FLPS, in Greenland, Tortola. Damir is the Francis Lettsome Primary School Wildcats’ 2022 Queen’s Relay Baton Bearer, because of his keen spirit, respectfulness, dedication to learning, willingness to help, community service, and pride in representing his school.