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

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.

Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay brings unity through community

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) on Tuesday, May 3 and Wednesday, May 4.

The two-day event brought a perceptible positive energy at a time of political uncertainty in the territory. With a focus on celebrating culture, untold stories, heritage and traditions as well as the road to a sustainable-lifestyle future, the BVICGA worked closely with the Department of Culture and the Department of Education, Green VI and members of the community to deliver an engaging and elevating Queen’s Baton Relay as it toured communities on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

“The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI delivered a most unexpected and welcome relief from troubled times during the two days that it toured our territory,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President pf the BVICGA. “The high energy and enthusiasm with which the Queen’s Baton was received by all who participated in the events were uplifting and encouraging as, once again, we see the power of sports in bringing the community together in shared hope. This did not go unnoticed by the Birmingham 2022 Global QBR organisers in the UK who shared with us that this was one of their favourite Queen’s Baton Relays!”

The Queen’s Baton arrived into the territory from Dominica on May 2 ahead of the official welcome and opening ceremony at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on May 3 when the Baton made its entrance in the hands of some of the BVI’s past Commonwealth Games athletes to include Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Steve Augustine, Ralston “Grandfather” Henry, Tynelle Gumbs, Trevia Gumbs and Joe Chapman.

Remarks by H.E. Governor John Rankin, Premier Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley and Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVICGA and an explanation of the workings of the Queen’s Baton by Mr. Joe Chapman, Baton Manager and 4x Commonwealth Games squash player, were part of a programme featuring 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, author and poet Miss. Anika Christopher, Mr. Phil Aspinall, MBE, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, Leonora Delville Primary School, and the Razor Blades.

The relay legs through Road Town included heritage and museum sites such as the Sugarworks Museum, J.R. O’Neal Botanic Gardens, the Sunday Morning Well, H.M. Prison Museum, Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park, Sir Olva Georges Plaza and Old Government House Museum. Information was shared on the history of the location at each of the sites.

The Queen’s Baton was driven to the Ebenezer Thomas Primary School, Sea Cow’s Bay from where it was run to Manuel Reef Marina and sailed aboard a Traditional Tortola Sloop and a Feva of the Royal BVI Yacht Club Sailing Federation youth racing fleet to the beach at Nanny Cay Resort and Marina.

An afternoon stop at Carrot Bay included a visit with the fishing family of Mr. Albert Stoutt and his 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. All present were treated to an impromptu scratch band performance at the North Shore Shell Museum owned by Mr. Egbert “Shellman” Donovan.

The Queen’s Baton was welcomed by students, staff and faculty at the Leonora Delville Primary School and representatives from the Jost Van Dyke Primary School before the Day 1 relay ended with a visit to the coal pit at Capoon’s Bay where 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.

On the morning of May 4, the Queen’s Baton and delegation arrived at the Bregado Flax Education Center in Virgin Gorda for a warm reception programme executed by the Primary and Secondary divisions with remarks by Principal Hilroy George, Hon. Shereen Flax-Charles, Representative at Large, and Hon. Vincent Wheatley, District 9 Representative and Mr. Penn.

A visit to the school’s Green Sprouts Edible Garden was followed by a relay to the Green VI Eco Park for 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 afternoon leg through East End and Long Look included Baton handover spots at national heritage sites of the Chapel Hill Methodist Church, the Long Look Methodist Church and the Stickett.

The Queen’s Baton Relay in the BVI was brought to a close with a sports showcase and a traditional-rules, tug-of-war refereed by Mr. Elmore Stoutt. The cultural finale entertained and educated through songs, dances and story-telling that spoke to national heritage and the VI’s history and maritime connections performed by the Zion Sounds, Ms. Bria Smith, the Comfoo Dance Ensemble, the Heritage Dancers, Mrs. Valerie Lettsome and Miss Rosie Smith.

The next stop for the Queen’s Baton Relay was St Kitts and Nevis as it makes its way back to the UK for the Opening Ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 28.

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 – a traditional and fundamental part of the Games as the final Batonbearer passes the Baton back to The Queen or her representative. 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.

Read the full report.

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

BVIOC distributes Panam Sports coach funding to national federations

BVIOC presents coach hiring funds from Panam Sports to its national federations
BVI National Federations receive coach hiring funds from Panam Sports distributed by the BVIOC

The BVI Olympic Committee distributed cheques totaling $100,000 from Panam Sports to 14 of its member federations on June 26, 2020. The funds are part of Panam Sports’ special project for the hiring of coaches in support of sports development in the Americas.

The 14 national federations which currently are active and which are recipients of the coaching funds include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Football, Rugby, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Sailing, Softball/Baseball, Squash, Swimming and Volleyball.

“Coaching is a fundamental part of the success of any athlete or team and the development of sports,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The BVIOC applied to receive its allocation of $100,000 from Panam Sports which earmarked the money specifically for the hiring of coaches. The BVIOC and its national federations are very appreciative of the funding which is yet another demonstration of Panam Sports’ continued commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports across its 41 member nations which includes the Virgin Islands.”

The funding for coaches is one of the latest tangible resources Panam Sports has made available to the BVIOC and its member federations. Sports and athletes receive the direct benefits which the BVIOC apply for whether it’s through a donation of training equipment, funds for repairs to facilities – including the replacement of the Mondo track at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds or through development initiatives such as coach training sessions.

Panam Sports is also engaged with all athletes across the continent with its ongoing virtual support sessions featuring professional experts in all aspects of sports both physical and psychological. The virtual sessions were introduced as part of the organizations’ response to the impact of COVID-19 on athletes and their training and competition programmes in the lead up to the now rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

About Panam Sports

The Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) was established on August 8th, 1948 and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the continental Association of the NOCs of the Americas. In 2017 the organization was rebranded as Panam Sports.

Its principal objects are the celebration and conduct of the Pan American Games and the promotion, development and protection of sport, as well as the Olympic Movement, in the Americas through its member NOCs. The current President, Neven Ilic, has held the post since 2017.

Hive of activity at 2nd annual Olympic Day Sports Festival

International Olympic Day was marked on Saturday, June 22nd with the 2nd annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds. The morning of interactive events to promote the Olympic Day pillars to move, learn and discover was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture.

National Federations set up stations around the grounds where they staged demo sessions and invited attendees of the Sports Festival to join in. There was full and enthusiastic uptake in the sports as presented by archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, football, rugby, softball/baseball, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball with children and adults alike trying their hand at something new.

Sailing and squash had information stands featuring the equipment of their sport with each of the coaches respectively encouraging hands-on engagement with the sailing optimist on display and with the rackets and balls. Information on anti-doping and the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organisation was also available from Doping Control Officers.

“The response from the National Federations this year was exceptional and we could not have hosted such a successful event without their full participation,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “The International Olympic Committee had encouraged NOCs to ramp up activities this year to extend beyond the traditional Olympic Day walk/run and to promote the concept of getting active as a way of life regardless of age and ability. I am pleased that the BVIOC was ahead of the curve with this idea as we have been promoting interactive engagement since Olympic Day 2012 when we hosted the event at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The festival also provides the perfect platform for supporting our Long Term Athlete Development Programme.”

Following welcome remarks by Mr. Roy Barry, 2nd Vice President of the BVIOC and the reading of the Olympic Day Message from the President of the IOC, Mr. Thomas Bach, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, Minister for Education and Culture recognized the major achievements for athletes and teams as provided by some of the National Federations. Certificates of acknowledgement were given for distribution to the named athletes in athletics, football, rugby, sailing, softball/baseball and volleyball.

The Honourable Minister encouraged all athletes to stay the course and to continue to achieve results that they can be proud of.

Olympic Day was also selected as the appropriate occasion to officially announce the four athletes who have qualified to compete at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games from July 26th through August 11th. Naming senior track and field athletes and one sailor, Honourable Neville Smith, 1st Vice President, BVIOC congratulated Chantel Malone (long jump), Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles) and Eldred Henry (shot put) on their outstanding achievements in qualifying meets as well as 17-year old, Thad Lettsome who was awarded a universality place in the men’s laser event. The two sports’ disciplines are qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

On the heels of the announcement, Honourable Wheatley stated that the Ministry of Education and Culture has awarded checks amounting to $24,000 for senior athlete, Kyron McMaster for his gold medal wins at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the 2018 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC), Championships. Chantel Malone was also named as a recipient of a check for $9,000 for her silver medal win at the 2018 CAC Games.

“The Government has committed to paying our senior athletes for podium finishes at major international competitions,” said Honourable Wheatley. “This award is a ‘thank you’ as well as an incentive to stay committed to putting in the hard work and focus on winning a medal.” He went on to joke that the current roster of athletes was on track to bankrupting the government’s coffers.

At the invitation of Ms. Sabinah Clement, Athlete Representative, BVIOC, 3 athletes stepped forward to share their experiences. A volleyball player since the age of 12, Ms. Sharonda Pickering spoke of her route to becoming one of the best middle players in the sport in the NCAA conference, helping her school to conference and national championships.

Mr. Kenard Dawson who was home for the Summer, explained how he started his baseball career as a young boy playing softball with coach and VISBA President, Terrence Chinnery before going on to become catcher for the team at Georgia Premier Academy High School and earning a 4 Year Scholarship at Grambling State University, Statesboro, Georgia.

Ms. Beyonce Defreitas who just completed her freshman year at University of Central Florida, is a 100m and 200m sprinter and she closed out the opening remarks with a talk through of qualifying for the Commonwealth Youth Games, the Carifta Games and the IAAF World Under 20 Championships and competing at NCAA Division 1 events. Ms. Defreitas encouraged all the young aspiring athletes to follow their dreams and to be strong in their self-belief and confidence in their abilities.

Olympic Day was established in 1948 as an annual occasion where everyone everywhere can get together in their communities, whatever their age, ability or disability, to celebrate the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship and also celebrate the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.

The 2019 Olympic Day Sports Festival was sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Dasani water, Powerade and Coca Cola products distributed by Road Town Wholesale Trading Ltd, and MB’s Ice

Click to view the Olympic Day Sports Festival album on FaceBook

St Vincent & Grenadines cyclist Trevor Bailey wins BVICF 2019 Election Classic

Winners and participants of the BVI Cycling Federation’s 2019 Election Classic 74.2 mile race held on Feb 17, 2019. 1st Place – Trevor Bailey (St Vincent & the Grenadines) 357:40; 2nd place – Sean Weathered (Antigua & Barbuda) 357:45; 3rd place Philippe Leroy (BVI) 357:47. Photo: CM Farrington/BVIOC

Pack leaders from St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and the British Virgin Islands took to the podium of the BVI Cycling Federation’s (BVICF) 2019 Election Classic bicycle race.

The 74.2 mile race took place around the flatter, western end of Tortola, BVI on Sunday February 17, 2019.

In a sprint to the finish line, the 3 top cyclists completed the race within a couple of seconds of each other.

Trevor ‘Sailor’ Bailey from St Vincent and the Grenadines was first to cross the line in a time of 357:40 with Antiguan cyclist, Sean Weathered nipping at his wheel in a time of 357:45 to place second while Philippe Leroy (BVI)  followed closely to take third place in a time of 357:47.

Four women also competed completing a shorter course of 2 laps. The BVI racers included Olympia Fahie, Natasha Ruscheinski and Kay Reddy

The event was sponsored by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), National Bank of the Virgin Islands, Village Cay Hotel & Marina, One Stop Mall, TSBC Company LTD and Eugene Penn Taxi Services.

BVI Cycling Federation officially approved as member of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)

By BVIOC

Darel Christopher Jr competed in the 2018 UCI Road World Championships Men’s Elite Individual Time Trial held in Innsbruck, Austria Sept 22 – 30. Photo credit: Jan Hetfleisch

The British Virgin Islands’ Cycling Federation (BVICF) today was approved by the Congress of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) as an officially affiliated member of the sport’s international governing body. The approval was part of the agenda of the annual congress which took place in Innsbruck, Austria and brought together representatives of 130 of the UCI’s member National Federations.

The affiliation clears the BVICF to participate as an independent body in any cycling event worldwide without seeking approval from a secondary body.

The BVICF was one of four new members  including federations of the Republic of Chad, the Republic of Cape Verde, and the Cook Islands. The UCI now counts an unprecedented number of 194 affiliated National Federations. Its objective is to increase this total to 200 by 2022.

The congress was held during the 2018 UCI Road World Championships taking place in Innsbruck from September 22 – September 30, 2018 in which Virgin Islands’ cyclist, Darel Christopher Jr competed in the men’s elite Individual Time Trials on Tuesday, September 26.

Darel Jr was the last to cross the finish line after covering a distance of 52.5km and elevation of 654meters in a time of 1.31.43.87. The event was won by Australian, Dennis Rohan who took the rainbow jersey in a time of 1:03:02:57. The course included a 4.4km climb with 330 vertical metres of ascent featuring gradients of up to 14%.

Results: http://www.tissottiming.com/2018/crdwch/us-en/default/Stage/7/Results#anchor