Four athletes have been named to represent the BVI in the upcoming Lima 2019 Pan Am Games set to take place next month in Peru.
Among the quartet is Thad Lettsome — the first sailor in almost three decades to represent the territory in that discipline.
The other three local athletes include Commonwealth Games hurdling champion Kyron McMaster as well as Chantel Malone and strongman Eldred Henry.
McMaster who will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles, qualified for the games after winning gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018.
His compatriot Malone who is currently the number-two ranked long jumper in the world, qualified after making a personal best leap of 6.90 meters at the Annual Torrin Lawrence Memorial in Athens, Georgia in April 2019.
Shot Putter Eldred Henry delivered a record-setting performance during his indoor season to qualify for the games, while Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome who is only 17, was awarded a universality place in the event.
Tougher qualifying standards
Vice President of the BVI Olympic Committee Neville Smith congratulated the athletes for gaining the necessary qualifying standards to compete in the games.
“Qualifying for these Games has become much tougher than previous years and given the elevated standards and smaller team representing the VI this year, we are justifiably proud and excited to be sending a group of strong competitors who have the proven talent to make history and win our first ever medal – or medals!- in the Pan Am Games…We are also pleased that we have a young sailor who will bring us back into the Games after a long respite,” Smith said.
Breaking the cycle
The BVI is one of two teams who has never attained a Pan Am medal and Smith who was a member of the 1987 national softball team said he is extremely hopeful of breaking that boundary this year.
“We have competed in each of the Games since our first appearance in 1983 and the Pan Am Games was the starting point for the establishment of the BVI Olympic Committee. The closest we have come to a medal was in 1987 when our Softball team finished fourth, after a narrow 4-3 loss against Cuba in the bronze medal game but we are hopeful that 2019 will be the year we make the podium,” Vice President Smith added.
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