By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The British Virgin Islands Archery Association made its first attempt to get in to a regional game, during the Central American and Caribbean Games qualifier in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the first time with hopes of landing a spot in the July 19-Aug 3 games in Barranquilla, Colombia. They came narrowly missed qualifying by one spot.
The squad was comprised of Ritseenyah Georges, Winnete Lawrence, who shot in the women’s compound 50-meters and Jahmaine Liburd in the 70-meters recurve bow Olympic distance.
“Despite all the challenges, in was really a fruitful event,” association president Patrick Smith said. “It went a lot better than I thought. We didn’t get the qualifying spot that we wanted, but I’m really proud of the team, especially, Jahmaine Liburd. He had some equipment issues but he fought through it and missed qualifying by one or two spots.”
Of the 17 countries participating in the qualifier, Smith said they were the only country that had issues with having a practice spot for themselves. Everyone had a dedicated place to train
“They don’t have people walking across the range and cussing them,” he noted of the conditions they face at the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park in Road Town, whose block walls were blown down during Hurricane Irma and the facility became a pedestrian shortcut. “Despite all we’ve been through and how we performed—we only train twice a week if that—hats off to the archers. They should be proud of themselves for doing so well with limited practices and the circumstances.”
Smith said they now have to return to the drawing board, rethink the way they train, implement different ideas and their biggest need he added is funding will approach the BVI Olympic Committee.
A bigger travel team is also needed he pointed out. Going to tournaments and accumulating points by participating in more tournaments.
“The only way to build points and qualify for tournaments is to shoot in a lot of tournaments,” he said. “Unfortunately, we just can’t make those numbers right now, but eventually, we’ll get there.”
Smith said there are eight youngsters coming up shooting recurve right now, two of whom went to Santo Domingo with the team as their parents wanted them to get the experience. He said from the exposure, while they were there, they switched from compound to recurve
“We have an upcoming team trial and will have another core,” Smith stated. “Right now, we’re looking to revamp our program and setting up an Olympic style archery program in schools as well as an after school program. We’re trying to develop it from middle school to college.”