Squash player and flag bearer Luca Reich opens for BVI at Cali 2021 Junior Panam Games

Representing the Virgin Islands (UK) at the inaugural Junior PanAm Games in Cali, Colombia, squash player Luca Reich was the first athlete of the team to compete at Cali 2021.

After demanding and challenging games, Luca lost out 3-0 to his higher ranked Argentinian opponent, Miguel Gonzalo Pujol on November 26.

Chef de Mission and squash Coach Adam Murrills reports that given that the event is an Under 23 competition, it was always going to be a tough ask competing against the best players in the Pan American region at the young age of 18.

“These events are exactly where Luca wants to be though in the coming years and so getting this experience at such an early stage in his squash development is invaluable!” says Coach Murrills.

Luca played well and, for periods of the match, managed to match the quality of his more experienced opponent. During those periods he was able to finish the points with a few nice winners.

The next stage for Luca is going to be developing the ability to maintain that quality for long periods whilst under pressure and physical duress. This will come with more matches at this level.

Having just started studying at Western University, both player and coach are hopeful that through Western Mustangs’ very strong squash program – Western are the premier squash College in Canada – Luca will be able to train at and become accustomed to this higher level on a regular basis.

“On behalf of myself and Luca, I would like to thank the BVI Olympic Committee for their support and for helping facilitate this fantastic opportunity for Luca!” said Coach Murrills

Luca also got to train with fellow Caribbean players which adds to his time and experience at the inaugural PanAm Junior Games in Colombia.

“On behalf of the BVI Olympic Committee thank you Luca for representing the territory at the Junior PanAm Games as flag bearer,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “Congratulations on your efforts in your first major Games and thank you and Coach Murrills for the time, effort, passion for the sport and commitment to train to compete and represent at international levels. We look forward to seeing you make your mark in future Games!”

9 athletes to represent Virgin Islands in 4 sports at inaugural Junior PanAm Games in Cali-Valle, Colombia

The British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee (BVIOC) has confirmed that 9 athletes will represent the Virgin Islands in 4 sports at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games which will take place in Cali-Valle, Colombia, November 25 – December 5, 2021.

The VI team comprising 1 sailor, 3 track athletes, 1 squash player and 4 basketball players will start to arrive into Colombia from November 24 ahead of the opening ceremony on November 25 and their events starting November 26. Chef de Mission and squash coach, Adam Murrills will be in Cali in advance of the athletes in preparation of their arrival.

“I have been working closely with the National Federations and the coaches confirming the athletes’ participation at Cali 2021 and ensuring that all processes are completed,” said Murrills. “I attended the Chef de Missions’ seminar in Cali in September and am satisfied that our athletes will be comfortably accommodated and will have the opportunity to settle in and train ahead of their events.”

The first athletes to qualify for Cali 2021 were sailor Thad Lettsome, who made his first major Games debut at the Lima 2019 Panam Games and swimmer Elinah Phillip, who made her first Olympic appearance at Rio 2016 and competed again at the Tokyo 2020 Games. Unfortunately, Phillip is making a health recovery and will not be able to compete at Cali.

Lettsome will compete in the men’s ILCA 7 single person dinghy on Lake Calima, December 2 – 4.

Making his major Games debut, Luca Reich will be the first athlete to compete at Cali 2021 when he faces his squash opponents at Club Campestre de Cali, November 26 – 27.

The 3 track athletes who are all competing at their first major Games are sprinters Rikkoi Brathwaite (100m and 200m), Jaleel Croal (200m) and Zara Brown (100m). The 100m races take place November 30 – December 1 and the 200m events take place at the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero, Santiago de Cali, December 2 – 3.

The VI will be represented in basketball at a major Game For the first time since appearing at the CAC Games in 2010 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. D’Andre Mitcham, Stephano Paul, Michael Richardson, and Shakeem Tyson have been selected to form the 3×3 basketball team competing at the Pan American Courts in Cali, December 2 – 5.

BVIOC President Ephraim Penn, who was elected as a member of the Panam Sports Technical Commission in April 2021, will also be in attendance at the Games.

“This is the second major Games since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held last summer and we are excited for our junior athletes who will be taking to the international stage. For the majority of athletes representing the VI at these Games, this will be the first time competing for their country,” said BVIOC President Ephraim Penn. “At the start of the pandemic, the region’s NOCs were uncertain as to when the inaugural Junior PanAm Games would be held until the commitment was made by Cali to move the dates from June 2021 to the end of the year. We have embraced the opportunity presented to our young athletes who have their eyes on the future including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 2023 Panam Games and the Paris 2024 Olympics.”

The Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games is a pathway to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and Paris 2024 Olympic Games with gold medalists gaining automatic qualification to Santiago 2023.

The VI delegation to Cali 2021 also includes, Lloyd Black (Secretary General, BVIOC), coaches Chris Watters (sailing), Ralston Henry (athletics), Trevor Stevens (basketball) and physiotherapist, Levi James.

3,500 athletes from 41 countries will compete in 39 sports across 10 days of nonstop action which will be broadcast live and direct on the Panam Sports Channel and on CBN Television Channel 101 beginning with the Opening Ceremony on November 25 and concluding when the curtain is lowered on the Games at the Closing Ceremony on December 5.

Follow the BVIOC on FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter for regular updates and results.

Dion Anselm, Zoe Sorrentino are 2021 BVI Senior Squash Champions

Zoe Sorrentino and Dion Anselm are 2021 BVI Senior Squash Champions

The BVI Senior Squash Championships plate and finals took place at the Tortola Sports Club on Saturday, February 13. Fast-paced and exciting games were played between opponents in both the men’s and women’s matches.

Plate Final –
Zak Jelusic beat Ian Chambers 11-7, 11-9, 11-8
These two used to be flatmates so there were certainly bragging rights up for grabs when it came to this plate final. As always Ian gave it 100% but found Zak a bit too steady for him on the day. Zak took the spoils 3-0.
 
Women’s 3rd/4th Playoff –
Natalie Fay beat Mandi Atack 11-9, 11-6, 11-6
The first game was a very tight affair which could have gone either way. Natalie was her usual all action self while Mandi was playing a more measured game looking to pick off any weak shots that she could force from Natalie’s racket. It was nip tuck all the way however Natalie managed to sneak it 11-9. Even though Mandi had forced Natalie to do a lot of running in the first that didn’t stop Natalie in the second… she came out with the same energy and the quality of her squash slightly increased. Mandi was still very much in the game but Natalie managed to create a slight lead in each of the next two games and she never looked back… she closed the match out 3-0.
 
Men’s 3rd/4th Playoff –
Luca Reich beat Rory Thornton 13-11, 11-9, 11-8
These two have been playing consistently over the past few weeks in order to sharpen up for the event. Anyone who’s witnessed any of their battles on a Monday has been served a treat as the matches are always fast paced, with 100% effort and some great rallies. This match was no different. Although Luca managed to get the win in 3 games… each game was very hard fought… especially the first two where Rory held game ball in the first and then led 9-7 in the second. Had he taken either of those games the match may have looked rather different. Credit must go to Luca for winning the big points and for not letting his foot off the gas when he was ahead in the 3rd (a lesson that maybe he learnt from his semi final!!).
 
Women’s Final –
Zoe Sorrentino beat Musonda Poole 11-9, 11-5, 11-8
Musonda started this game on fire and marched out to a 4-0 lead in the first game. As Zoe’s nerves settled she gradually clawed her way back in to the game by extending the rallies and hitting with great power in to the back corners. Zoe managed to sneak the first game 11-9. This was crucial and really gave Zoe the momentum as she came out looking much more confident in the second game. She started using her boast to good effect moving Musonda over the full court now. Second game to Zoe 11-5. Musonda is certainly a competitor and fought hard in the third game. Anything that was left in the middle of the court she finished with either hard low kills or soft drops to the front two corners. The game was anyone’s at 8-8 however Zoe then held her nerve and closed the match out with three solid points to once again be crowned TSC Women’s Squash Champion!
 
Men’s Final –
Dion Anselm beat Neville Sorrentino 11-6, 11-5, 12-10
Dion started this match at a really high intensity and he showed he meant business from the very first point. Unfortunately Neville didn’t quite have such a positive start. Right from the beginning it was apparent that he wasn’t on his ‘A game’. Dion was ruthless and capitalised on this as he should. He stormed out to an 8-1 lead and closed out the game 11-6. The second game followed a similar pattern where Dion ran out to an early lead and then managed to hold on to it for the remainder of the game 11-5. On top of his obvious skills with the racket, Neville is nothing if not a fighter and he got stuck in in the third and made it much tougher for Dion. He saved two match balls and forced a tie break at 10-10. Dion however once again showed his ruthlessness and closed the match out 12-10 and in doing so became our Men’s Squash Champion! While undoubtedly disappointed with his performance in the final, Neville dug in and made things as difficult as possible for his opponent but credit must go to Dion for sensing a slight drop in Neville’s usual level and being relentless in moving towards the finishing line.
 
Roundup –
Adam Murrills, tournament organizer and national squash coach noted that squash has more and more players joining all the time which can only serve to improve the overall level of competition.

“A big thank you to everyone that entered the event and I’d of course like to congratulate all of our winners!I look forward to watching this event continue to grow over the coming years,” said Murrills. “I’m also looking forward to watching some of our top juniors gradually start emerging in these events. Luca has led the way finishing third in the Men’s Event this year. I know he’ll be hoping to better that come next year’s event! There were also promising performances from Darci Reich, Oliver Henderson and Danny Henderson.”

2021 BVI Senior Squash Champions Zoe Sorrentino and Dion Anselm with tournament organiser and National Squash Coach, Adam Murrills

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.

New date for BVIOC community walks to mark Olympic Day

The BVI Olympic Committee has rescheduled the community walks to mark Olympic Day to now take place on Saturday, July 4, 2020 with no changes to the original locations and registration time of 5:30am.

“The air quality forecast for Saturday, June 27 was cause for concern and after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer and the walk organisers, we decided that it was in the best interest of all participants to reschedule the Olympic Day Community Walks to take place at the same time next Saturday, July 4,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We realise that this may cause some disruption to plans but we would like to see more persons able to join in the walks in their neighbourhood and to move and stay active and encourage folks to mark the new date in their calendars.”

The BVIOC in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

Registration for the walks in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay; Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda and the Claudia Creque Education Center in Anegada.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVIOC organises community walks to mark Olympic Day

Simone Foster, an annual participant, celebrates the end of an Olympic Day walk in the Virgin Islands

The BVI Olympic Committee in collaboration with its National Federations and community groups will be hosting early morning community walks throughout the Virgin Islands on Saturday, June 27, 2020 to promote the Olympic Day message to #StayActive.

The community walks will take place in lieu of the annual interactive Sports Festival which officially have taken place since 2017 to mark Olympic Day.

“This year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the BVIOC to rethink its programme of an interactive discussion session and mini sports clinics planned for the 2020 Sports Festival and to organize an activity that would be compliant with the current local health protocols and social distancing measures” said Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC. “With our low rate of infection and no current active cases, the proposal to host regulated walks in communities throughout the Districts met with approval from the Chief Medical Officer. The walks will start as early in the morning as curfew restrictions allow to try and beat the heat and will follow easy routes so as to be manageable by all ages and abilities.”

Registration for the walks will start at 5:30am in all locations apart from in Sea Cow’s Bay which will start at 6:00am and Brewer’s Bay which will start at 5:15am. Registration locations are as follows:
Basketball court, West End; Myett’s car park, Cane Garden Bay; Nichol’s Beach Bar, Brewer’s Bay; Manuel Reef car park, Sea Cow’s Bay, Tortola Sports Club, Road Town; YEP in Long Look and Trellis Bay car park in East End. Walks also will take place in Jost Van Dyke, registration in front of the Government Administration buildings, Great Harbour and at the HLSCC in The Valley, Virgin Gorda.

Walk managers include volunteers from the VI Archery Association, BVI Athletics Association, BVI Rugby, Taekwondo, BVI Squash Federation, VI Softball/Baseball Association, YEP, TSC, Brewer’s Bay Action Committee, Jost Van Dyke Resilience Team led by Mr. Mark Morris, Mr. Milton McLean and Sister Island Coordinator, Ms Sasha Flax.

Staggered start times will be managed to keep walking groups to a maximum of 20 persons with 6ft distance between participating households. Walkers are requested to cooperate with the walk managers in their efforts to keep the activity safe for everyone.

Participants will receive a free tee shirts and Dasani Water and Powerade distributed by Road Town Wholesale on a first-come-first-serve basis. Walkers are advised to also bring their own water to ensure proper hydration. Organisers are requesting the return of the empty plastic bottles so that they may be properly disposed of in the recycling bins.

In the interests of public health and safety, potential participants are advised to stay home if feeling unwell, running a temperature or living in the same household as quarantined persons.

About Olympic Day
June 23 is marked in the international sporting calendar as international Olympic Day. Originally observed by just 9 countries on that day in 1948, the IOC launched the symbolic run in 1987 which encouraged all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to celebrate Olympic Day and promote the practice of mass sport. From 45 participating NOCs in the first edition in 1987, the numbers have grown to more than 100 participating NOCs.

Today, Olympic Day is built on the three pillars “move”, “learn” and “discover” integrating sports, education and cultural aspects to broaden the community reach and appeal. and to motivate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to engage in healthy, physical activity.

In 2012, the BVIOC was one of the few NOCs to host a celebration of all sports on Olympic Day at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. The morning of activity started with a 2-mile run followed by a discussion panel featuring local sporting personalities and moderated by Mr. Rey O’Neal. The action continued with National Federations showcasing their sports and encouraging public participation and ended with a performance by the Lashing Dogs. This format of interactive engagement was adopted as the global template in 2017 at which time the BVIOC officially launched its annual Sports Festival to mark Olympic Day.

BVI sees largest participation in World Squash Day in 2 years

A record number of players participated in World Squash Day 2019 in the BVI

The BVI Squash Rackets Association saw a record turnout of players for World Squash Day on October 12.

The event, which is celebrated internationally each year, was open to players of all ages and abilities. 36 players participated in a big team competition at the Tortola Sports Club, the largest number to take part in the BVI in 2 years.

The winning team comprised Joe Chapman, Jonathan Addo, Alex Lower, Neville Wyllie, Decoy Mactavious, Jake Hallet, Darci Reich, Lisa Adamson and Ksenia Shvalova.

“There were fantastic matches between the federation’s top players which was inspiring for the new comers, and I definitely saw some great squash being played by all who joined in,” said Adam Murrills, Squash coach and organizer of the event

“The increase in interest and the progress of squash players in the BVI over the last 12 months has been very encouraging for the continued development of the sport,” said Mark Chapman, President, BVI Squash Rackets Association. “While we want to appeal to the wider community to give squash a go, we’re specifically targeting young potential players by engaging with organisations such as YEP and schools.”

Coach Murrills runs after school clubs during the week as well as group sessions on Saturdays. The squash pro currently has a roster of 35 young players from Elmore Stoutt High School, YEP, First impressions, Cedar, Francis Lettsome, Joyce Samuels, and Ebenezer Thomas Primary Schools – the majority of players are new to squash. Coach Murrills continues to meet with principals and PE teachers to raise awareness of the sport and to invite youngster to learn.

“Coach Murrills is doing an excellent job of introducing squash at a grassroots level and the BVISRA is hopeful that these continued efforts will result in a pool of future contenders for the big international competitions such as the Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games,” said Chapman.

A BBQ and baked treats for sale at World Squash Day helped to raise funds for the federation’s junior players who will compete in the Barbados Junior Open, November 28 – December 1, 2019.

The federation acknowledged the donations made by Conyers, Dill and Pearman and Capriccios and Jonathan Addo.

3 podium finishes for VI at first national representation at Caribbean Senior Squash Tournament

Joe Chapman (Men’s Individual), Neville Sorrentino (Men’s Over 50), Mike Adamson (Men’s Over 40) each placed 3rd at 2019 CASA Championships

The Virgin Islands Senior National Squash Team competed in the Senior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships held in Guyana from August 18 – 24. This was the first time that the VI was able to compete as a nation as previously the territory had to join forces with other Eastern Caribbean Nations to form an OECS Team. VI finished 5th out of the 8 competing Caribbean Nations with Joe Chapman, Mike Adamson, and Neville Sorrentino placing third in their individual events.

National VI Squash Team at CASA Championships 2019

The Women’s team comprised Zoe Sorrentino, and CASA debutants Natalie Fay and Nicole Toppin.

Chapman, Dion Anselm, Jonathan Addo and Tony Campbell made up the Men’s team with Addo and Campbell competing in their first CASA event.

Adamson (Men’s Over 40), Sorrentino (Men’s Over 50) and Winston Findlay (Men’s Over 60) formed the Veteran team. Adamson and Sorrentino finished 3rd in their respective events with Findlay narrowly missing out on a top 3 finish after a 3-2 loss in his final match.

CASA Individual Event:
Chapman, Anselm, Addo, Zoe Sorrentino, Fay and Toppin, who all participated in the Individual event, fought well against strong opponents but only Chapman managed to progress past the 1st round.

Chapman, winner of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s Plate, played some focused and professional squash to navigate his way through to the semi final of the main draw where he faced 8-times CASA champion, Chris Binnie. Chapman played well and pushed Binnie hard but the Jamaican team player eventually proved too strong an opponent and ran out a 3-0 winner. Binnie impressively went on to win the event without dropping a single game. Chapman was awarded 3rd place due to the withdrawal of his opponent (who Chapman beat in the team event).

Sorrentino put together a great run in the plate event in which she narrowly lost out in the semis to the eventual plate winner.

Men’s Doubles Event:
Adamson and Anselm lost out to the 1 seeds from the Cayman Islands 11-7, 11-7 (the doubles is played as best of 3). Both men played excellent squash in a fast and furious match, and were very close to stealing a game. It was only a few unforced errors at the end of the games that prevented a win becoming a reality.

“Overall it was a great performance against a very accomplished pairing,” said Murrills.

Mixed Doubles Event:
Neville Sorrentino and Zoe Sorrentino caused a stir as the only father/daughter pairing in the event and also due to having the biggest age differential between teammates!

Playing against Trinidad’s male and female no.1 players was always going to be a tough match. With Doubles being an exceedingly fast game, the Sorrentino duo lacked a little composure in the 1st game but played a much better 2nd. Unfortunately, at 7-7, Zoe got hit exceedingly hard by a drive by the opponents’ male player which halted the momentum that the Sorrentinos had. The two however went on to string together several solid points and closed out the match 3-0.

Points gained in the 6 events – Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, VETS Team, Men’s Team, Women’s Team – provide an overall standing at the end of the tournament.

“All our players can be proud of some fantastic performances and for the effort and team spirit they showed throughout,” said Murrills. “This year has really helped show us all the level that we’re aspiring to and I’m confident that the standard on island will improve and that we will bridge the gap to the strongest nations (Guyana and Barbados) over the coming years. With youngsters coming through our junior programmes who are improving very quickly, this again only serves to strengthen our future teams.”

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

Community invited to 2nd annual Olympic Day Sports Festival

The BVI Olympic Committee, supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture through the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports will host its second annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds from 9:00am – 12:00pm on Saturday, June 22.

The Sports Festival, marking the globally celebrated international Olympic Day, aims to encourage the community to get physically active by promoting the Olympic message to “move, learn and discover”.

The morning will feature interactive stations set up by National Sporting Federations with opportunities for everybody of all ages and abilities to try out a sport. Adults and children alike will be able to test their skills and find out more about archery, athletics, basketball, football, rugby, sailing, softball/baseball, squash, swimming, taekwondo, tennis and volleyball with a view to finding a sport that ignites an interest and to get active in their daily life.

Recently trained Doping Control Officers (DCOs) will be on hand to explain more about anti-doping in sports. Information will be provided about the Long Term Athlete Development programme and the importance of incorporating physical activity as part of a regular routine to minimize the risks of non-communicable diseases. DYAS will also have information on its Summer programme for 13 – 18 year olds.

During the brief opening of the Sports Festival, the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, the Minister for Education, Culture and Sports will recognize the major achievements of national athletes and teams as provided by the National Federations.

On this day, the Honourable Neville Smith, 1st VP of the BVIOC will also announce the senior athletes who have so far qualified to compete in the Lima 2019 Pan American Games which will take place in Peru from July 26 – August 11.

Free Olympic Day tee shirts will be handed out by the BVIOC as well as complimentary water, chilled courtesy of MBs Ice.

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 and Friendship and also celebrate the Olympic Day pillars: Move. Learn. Discover.