BVI Welcomed To Pan Am Games Ahead Of Tonight’s Opening Ceremony

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Village Mayor Karin Sierralta, right, with Lindel “Chef” Hodge and the Pan Am Games Mascot, following the welcoming ceremony

Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

BVI Pan Am Games Media Contact

LIMA Peru— When the 1979 Pan Am Games were held next door in San Juan Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands couldn’t field a delegation, because the territory didn’t have an Olympic Committee at the time.

Now 40 years later, the BVI enters the 18th Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, with three track and field world class athletes, ranked in the Top 20 in their respective events, among their delegation of five.

On Wednesday, the BVI’s delegation that will compete in the Pan Am Games, was officially welcomed during a team welcoming ceremony in the Pan Am Games Village here in Lima, where the territory’s delegation will reside. Chef de Mission Lindel “Chef” Hodge represented the territory as unforeseen travel delays prevented other officials from attending the traditional welcome ceremony.

“It went really smoothly,” noted Hodge, pointing out that Aruba, Argentina and Guyana also had their ceremony at the same time. “They announced each country individually, we gave a little speech and accepted an award.”

Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 8 p.m. BVI this evening and will be carried on ESPN Caribbean. In all, over 6,700 athletes from 41 countries including the USA, Canada, all Central and South America and the Caribbean countries with Olympic Committees, will compete in 39 sports in the games that runs through August 11.

Laser Sailor Thad Lettsome will carry the flag during tonight’s opening ceremony. He along with Sailing Coach Alec Anderson and Hodge, will march in the opening.

Lettsome, 17, is the youngest in the delegation and is also making history as the first BVI Sailor to compete in the Pan Am Games. He was 19th in the ISAF World Youth Championships in Poland, July 14-20.

Track and Field athletes will begin arriving in Lima from Sunday, ahead of their Aug 6 competition.

The BVI has never won a Pan Am Games medal. The best finish has been fourth place by the 1987 Softball team, that narrowly lost to Cuba, 4-3 in the bronze medal game.

Long Jumper Chantel Malone was fourth in 2015 in Toronto and will seek to improve on that position in Lima. In May, she leapt a personal best of 6.90m. Malone has qualified

for every IAAF World Championships since 2011 and was seventh in 2017, with the BVI’s best outdoor Championships finish. Last year, Malone won CAC Games Long Jump silver.

Shot Putter Eldred Henry demolished the NCAA Division II record, when he threw 21.47m, to win the outdoor title in May, representing Findlay University in Ohio. He also won the 2019 NCAA Division II Shot Put crown. Henry was a 2018 CAC games bronze medalist.

400m Hurdler Kyron McMaster has become the BVI’s most successful international athlete. He’s the two times defending IAAF Diamond League Champion, won the BVI’s first Commonwealth Games medal in 2018, added the Central American and Caribbean Games gold and the North American Central American and Caribbean Championships gold medal, all in 2018. He has a season’s best of 48.94 seconds.

Ashley Kelly, a late addition to the team, has had a lackluster season but finally ran a season’s best 53.55 seconds in the 400m at the Adam Sanford Cup in New York in early July.

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