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Press Release From Independent Source

Hive of activity @ 2nd annual Olympic Day Sports Festival

Participants of the 2nd annual Sports Festival in observance of International Olympic Day at A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds on June 22, 2019 get a demonstration of taekwondo. Photo: BVIOC
Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), Minister for Education and Culture, recognised the major achievements for athletes and teams as provided by some of the National Federations. Photo: BVIOC
Dr The Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), Minister for Education and Culture, recognised the major achievements for athletes and teams as provided by some of the National Federations. Photo: BVIOC
Deputy Speaker Honourable Neville A. Smith (AL), 1st Vice President of the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) congratulated Chantel E. Malone (long jump), Kyron A. 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 at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Photo: BVIOC
Deputy Speaker Honourable Neville A. Smith (AL), 1st Vice President of the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) congratulated Chantel E. Malone (long jump), Kyron A. 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 at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. Photo: BVIOC
Mr Kenard Dawson relates how he started his baseball career as a young boy playing softball with coach and Virgin Islands Softball Association (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. Photo: BVIOC
Mr Kenard Dawson relates how he started his baseball career as a young boy playing softball with coach and Virgin Islands Softball Association (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. Photo: BVIOC
Sprinter Beyonce A. Defreitas encouraged all the young aspiring athletes to follow their dreams and to be strong in their self-belief and confidence in their abilities. Photo: BVIOC
Sprinter Beyonce A. Defreitas encouraged all the young aspiring athletes to follow their dreams and to be strong in their self-belief and confidence in their abilities. Photo: BVIOC
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - International Olympic Day was marked on Saturday, June 22, 2019 with the 2nd annual Sports Festival at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds in Road Town, Tortola.

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 E. 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 E. 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 (R7), Minister for Education and Culture, recognised 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 26 through August 11, 2019. Naming senior track and field athletes and one sailor, Honourable Neville A. Smith (AL), 1st Vice President, BVIOC congratulated Chantel E. Malone (long jump), Kyron A. 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, 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. 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 Virgin Islands Softball Association (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 A. 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.

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