BVI News

Gov’t pledges to invest more in sports after BVI’s 7 medal haul at CARIFTA Games

Government legislator Neville Smith congratulates double CARIFTA Games medalist Jaleel Croal at the TB Lettsome Airport on Wednesday.

Following a series of outstanding performances from local athletes at the 2019 CARIFTA Games in the Cayman Islands team at the weekend, government is pledging to invest more in sports locally.

“As a government, we really need to invest more into our youths through the various programmes in sports; not just athletics but sports on a whole because we can now see the fruit of our labour,” said Territorial At-Large Representative and Vice-president of the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), Neville Smith.

While agreeing with the legislator, BVIOC President Ephraim Penn said his organisation will be working closely with government and other associations to develop sports locally.

Both Penn and Smith were speaking at the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport during a ceremony to welcome the CARIFTA Games team back to the territory on Wednesday.

Man of the moment

The man of the moment, Jaleel Croal, who created history by striking gold in the Under-17 boys 200-meter race said he was “a little terrified” about running out of lane eight — one of the least favoured lanes in a sprint track event.

“I didn’t let that stop me from executing my race. I wanted to get off the curve first and I think I did that and I ran straight home” said Croal, who also won bronze in the Under-17 boys 100-metre finals.

The double CARIFTA Games medallist added that acknowledgement from Olympic champions such as Shelly-Ann Frasier-Price from Jamaica gave him what he described as an overwhelming feeling.

“It makes me feel awesome. I feel very appreciated and I hope to do more of this in the future” he said.

Croal’s focus is now on the Junior Pan American Games, in which he is confident he will do well.

Hard work behind the scenes

Minister responsible for sports Dr Natalio Wheatley was unable to attend the welcome ceremony due to Cabinet duties. But, in an exclusive interview with BVI News, the minister congratulated the team on their achievement and alluded a large part of their success to the hard work done behind the scenes.

“I want to [also] congratulate and recognize their coaches, the managers and their parents for being very supportive and encouraging. Certainly, we have a great group of persons who are focused on athletics. You know it’s a small territory, of course, but we have a small committed group who are effective and very efficient and I think the success of the athletes are a reflection of that” Minister Wheatley said.

The BVI CARIFTA Games team ended the competition with a historic seven medals comprising one gold, three silvers, and three bronze.

BVI’s 2019 CARIFTA Games team

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  1. TurtleDove says:

    Ok my brother True that!. Now work out a comprehensive plan and present it to the government, public and business community. Develop a website and show where the money is going and showcase the athletes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup invest in sports rather than higher education. Let’s see, when a runner grows up he can make a living doing what? Oh I know, running from the police. How about investing money in school programs that can teach the young to be an asset to the Territory rather than a burden. Invest in a medical school, a law school, a farming and fishing school. Running? Really? You people need to wake up and see the accomplishments being made by other small countries. This Territory has given nothing to the mankind.

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  2. frett says:

    If you want to see more medals/trophies give us a drag strip and then you will see results

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  3. vip heckler says:

    Once again no motorcade for our athletes….Same old same old

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  4. vip heckler says:

    Will sheep now be the new photo ops minister?

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  5. Track fan says:

    Wasn’t this promise of financial help athletucs/sports expressed in 2013 when the BVI was second in the medley relay world youth championships in Donesk? Wait for it.

  6. Quiet Warrior says:

    Congratulations to all the VI athletes on their sterling performance at the Carifta games in the Cayman Islands. You were truly goodwill ambassadors. Your success has peaked the interest of government, committing to invest more in sports. Here is a news flash. If we want to see more success, there must be a sports plan that supports/invest athletes at the front end, not wait until a few through sacrifice and perseverance attain success internationally. We must support our own up front.

    Entertainers, athletes…….etc need our support upfront. That support is not only just financial assistance but also attending local events, meets……etc, cheering and encouraging them. For example, we will flock to see and support international artists but will not give a local group the time of the day. However, if that same group attain success outside the territory, we walk around proud, thumping our chest. Let’s support our own; our own must also work hard for that support. In regards to sport, some CPR is needed. Softball once the national sport is on life support; the other sports need support, ie, basketball, cricket…….etc. Some sports required nuff acreage so there will not be facilities in every village, ie, cricket.

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