BVI To Open Pan Am Games With Sailing And Without McMaster


Sailing Coach Alec Anderson, left, Chef de Mission Lindel “Chef” Hodge and Laser Sailor, Thad Lettsome, in the Peru national stadium following the opening ceremony

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

LIMA, Peru—In search of its historic first medal, BVI athletes will begin competing in the 18thPan Am Games here in Lima, Peru on Saturday, with Thad Lettsome hitting the water in Paracas, to compete in Laser Sailing. He will compete through Aug 10.

On the other hand, 400m Hurdler and medal prospect Kyron McMaster, will not make his expected debut because of injury. He was to see action when track and field kicked off on Aug 6. 

“It is well known that Kyron McMaster experienced some difficulties in his last Diamond League outing. Since then, he’s been seen by some of the best Sports Medicine Doctors,” BVI Athletics Association President Augustine said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Currently receiving treatment, he’s already taking on light workouts and remains in good spirits about his health. With continued rest and treatment he’s expected to compete in Doha. This of course means missing out on Pan Am.”

Augustine’s statement added: ”Although the BVI will showcase one less athlete at the games, we are confident that our possibilities remain unchanged. Leading into the IAAF World Championships, we will continue to update the public on Kyron’s competition schedule,”.

 McMaster, who last faced the starter’s gun in his pet event during the London Anniversary Games on July 20 and did not complete the race, stopping after the first hurdle, said he wanted to compete in the Pan Am Games.

“Due to circumstances it can’t be done, but we have no choice to be ready for Worlds in a short period of time,” he said of the IAAF World Championships scheduled for Doha, Qatar, September 27-October 6. “This will be the season to test my true athleticism.” 

Long Jumper Chantel Malone—who was fourth in Toronto during the 2015 games—will swing into action on Monday in her specialty. She’s currently ranked No 5 in the world on the IAAF 2019 list, with a 6.90m leap.

Shot Putter Eldred Henry will see action on Tuesday in his pet event and brings a No 13 IAAF global ranking into the competition. He has heaved the 16 pounds steal ball, 21.47m.

Ashley Kelly, who ran a season’s best of 53.55 seconds, will also be in action on Tuesday.

The BVI was welcomed to the Pan Am Games during a ceremony in the Athletes Village on July 24. The trio of Chef de Mission Lindel “Chef” Hodge, Sailing Coach Alec Anderson and Laser Sailor and flag bearer Thad Lettsome, marched in the July 26 opening ceremony where they made their splash.

“From time we walked out our apartment, everybody was watching us,” noted Hodge. “Everybody was in their suits and bland sweat suits and we had our pretty shirts with Be VI, it was an eye catcher. I wished we had more bodies, but we did what we had to do. Our shirts caught lots of eyes and everybody wanted to trade for our BVI pins after that.”

For Lettsome who’s making his games debut it was memorable. 

“It was a fun, a good experience I won’t forget,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky I think to be doing this so young obviously, then holding the flag, so I’m trying not to take it for granted because a lot of people can’t do this.”

Sailing Coach Alec Anderson said it was cool being able to represent the BVI in the opening ceremony. 

“I’ve always had a goal of going to the Olympics—though this is not quite the Olympics—it’s still a big opening ceremony with a lot of countries and a big crowd so it was pretty darn special to finally be able to walk through a tunnel, repping the BVI,” he said. “So, I had a great time.”