The Top Sports Stories Of 2019

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Chantel Malone celebrates her Pan Am Games gold medal in Lima, Peru PHOTO: Todd VanSickle

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

Some of 2019’s biggest sports stories came from Track and Field, where three athletes—Kyron McMaster, Chantel Malone and Eldred Henry—were ranked among the world’s Top 20 in their respective events, with the No’s 4, 8 & 17 marks at the end of the year. 

Malone

Four years after a medal slipped from her grasp in the final round of competition in Toronto, Long Jumper Malone buried the field on her first attempt, to win the BVI’s first Pan Am Games medal in its 36-year history, in Lima, Peru. 

Malone, sailed through the chilled air, then cut the sand at 6.68m (21’11”), a mark none of her 13 pursuers would surpass. 

“Winning gold is a big deal,” Malone said. “It lets the world know that the BVI is there. We’re small, but we have a lot of talent and I’m just happy to be an ambassador for my country.”

McMaster

McMaster narrowly missed a bronze medal by .07 seconds in the closing stages of the 400m Hurdles at the 17th IAAF World Championships in Qatar, settling for fourth place in a season’s best 48.10 seconds—the best finish by a BVI athlete in the outdoor championships. 

He became the BVI’s first male IAAF World Championships finalist and first outdoor championships track finalist male or female, after he was reinstated in the 400m Hurdles on when he finished 3rd in his heat in 48.40 seconds. 

Henry 

Eldred Henry systematically destroyed Pittsburg State Garrett Appier’s 2016 NCAA Division II Shot Put mark, adding the outdoor crown to his indoor title, on May 25.

Already with Appier’s 20.37m (66’10”) mark in hand, Henry uncorked a mammoth 21.47m (70’5¼”) effort on this third try, to obliterate the mark he established in round two. 

“Before the meet, I had a pretty good last shot put practice, so I knew it was time to get a big one off,” said Henry

1st Carifta sprint gold

Set in lane eight, Jaleel Croal exploded from the blocks, ran a scintillating curve, didn’t allow any of his pursuers to erode his edge on the straight, then punched his right fist in the air as he crossed the line in 21.43 seconds, to win the U17 Boys 200m at the 48th Carifta Games in the Cayman Islands, marking the first time that a BVI athlete had ever won a track and field sprint gold medal since the territory’s debut 43 years ago. 

Croal, who also became the first U17 Boys 100m medalist and led the team home with one gold, three silver and three bronze medals, for its most successful sojourn in its history, surpassing the four silver and four bronze medals of the 2013 delegation.

It was also a trip loaded with history, with other firsts including the first time a team that won a medal in all three days of competition and the first 200m Girls sprint medal when Beyonce DeFreitas grabbed bronze. 

Taheisa Retires

Sprinter Tahesia Harrigan-Scott announced her retirement after running a season’s best and the fastest women’s time of the season of 11.52 seconds. She represented the BVI 1999-2019.

Basketball

In the most competitive election held in the BVI Basketball Federation 45-year history and a battle between two former players that needed a recount, Derrick Varlack edged Kennedy Bass, 14-13, to become the body’s 16th president. Varlack replaced two times president, Guy “The General” Malone, who did not seek reelection after 30 years in the sport. The executive also includes VI Jason Edwin; Secretary, Natasha Marshall; Treasurer; Mohammed Tarabay, Asst Secretary; Carol Ann Simmonds, Treasurer; Eustace “Boss” Freeman, Public Relations Officer. Angelle Cameron, Asst PRO. Trevor “West” Stevens is the Sr. Division Player’s Rep and Ronnie “Gola” Simmonds is the Jr. Division Players Rep.

There was no federation league.

JFL League

Trailing by six at the half, Pure Players overcame the deficit with a 34-15 third quarter run, then went on to deny defending champions Bayside Blazers’ quest to become the first repeat champion in Hon. Julian Fraser Save The Seed Basketball League history, and claimed their first title with a convincing 117-92 victory in the deciding game. 

“This means everything,” said Ray Victor who had a 32 points 13 assists and 12 rebounds triple double, and was hurt in game one last year when they lost to Bayside Blazers. “First of all, I had a point to prove against Mr. (Julian) Willock and his team. Last year I got injured. The brought in a lot of players this year and they doubted us. So, first of all that was for him, threatening us that we didn’t have a chance, because I got injured last year and it will be the same result.”

Cricket:

Royal Knights used three timely half century partnerships, Reno Mitteholzer bagged 4-27, and they whipped the RTW Vipers by 101 runs, to claim their first BVI Cricket Association Nagico T20 League title since 2014. They also won the Ralph T. O’Neal Cup and the $2,500 prize. O’Neal, who served as president 1960-1978, was the longest serving president and had the league named in his honor. 

Sailing

48th BVI Spring Regatta 

Visiting sailors from 16 countries on 90 different boats, were expected to drop around $5 Million in the territory’s economy, during the 48th BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival that wrapped up with a prize giving in Nanny Cay, after four days of racing over six days. 

“We had a great year, the weather Gods didn’t smile, they frowned a bit, but at the end of the day, we had wonderful racing,” BVI Spring Regatta Chairman Bob Phillips told Island Sun Sports. “Tuesday, for the Round Tortola Race we set new records; Wednesday, it was another day of just great racing up to Scrub Island. They got to see a lot of the geography, outside of Salt, outside of Ginger and then on Friday, they sort of took a hiatus, but we got some good racing in. We got three races per day.”

Thad Lettsome

Thad Lettsome, 17, became the territory’s 1st Laser Sailor to compete in the Pan Am Games, when he competed in Paracas, Peru in August. He was 19th overall. 

Cycling

After winning both $50 sprint premes, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Trevor Bailey outsprinted his Antigua and Barbuda and BVI counterparts, to win the BVI Cycling Federation 74 miles 13-laps Election Classic in West End and collected the $500 prize.

Bailey, who won the 2018 Caribbean Cycling Championships, fended off the charge of Antigua and Barbuda’s Sean Weathered, the BVI’s Phillipe Leroy and Antigua and Barbuda’s Rena Gayral, to win in 3 hours, 57 minutes and 40 seconds to Weathered’s 3:57.45 and Leroy’s 3:57.47. Gayral placed fourth in 3:57.48.

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