Countries round the globe aspire to make their mark in the Olympics, as this competition represents the highest level of competitive sports. The British Virgin Islands (BVI), a small British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, is no different. We view the London 2012 Olympic Games as a grand opportunity to display our sporting talent to the rest of the world, particularly in athletics and sailing. The games also present a unique occasion for us to raise the profile of the BVI on the world stage. We plan to have a strong performance after much preparation following the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
In 2009, the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC) wisely began to make preparations for the next round of Olympic competition by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Sport Cooperation with the county of Hertfordshire in the UK. This agreement has since provided BVI athletes with pre-games training and allowed them to utilise Hertfordshire’s sporting facilities and services in the lead up to the London Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in 2014. BVI has taken full advantage of this relationship and is proud to be the first to sign up for the county’s ‘Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership’, an Olympic programme that establishes partnerships between the county and countries competing in the Olympics.
As the 2012 Olympic Games approaches, we will be working to raise the profile of the BVI and its athletes through our many relationships in Europe and the UK, direct promotional efforts at home by BVIOC and events organised in the UK by British Virgin Islands London Office (BVILO) that include plans for a BVI Olympic Run in London.
We feel adequately prepared for 2012 and are pinning our Olympic hopes on six young British Virgin Islanders who have had strong performances in international competitions over the past three years.
Leading the pack is sprinter Tahesia Harrigan-Scott who in Belem, Brazil qualified for the Olympics in the 100 metre sprint on 15 May 2011. She clocked a time of 11.33 seconds, which also qualified her for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Daegu, South Korea in August 2011. The other Olympic hopefuls in athletics are Ashley Kelly, Karene King, Chantele Malone and Omar Jones. BVI also hopes to field a 4 x 100 metre relay team that would include Harrigan-Scott, Kelly, King and Malone. In 2009, the relay team posted a time of 44.34 that earned BVI the 24th spot on the IAAF ranking of nations in 2010. The relay team is being dubbed as one of the fastest in BVI history. In sailing, Alec Anderson, sailor extraordinaire, is expected to qualify for the Olympics in the coming months.
These athletes carry the Olympic dreams of the British Virgin Islands. The people and the government of our country stand behind them. We look forward to a successful 2012 Olympic Games and hope our friends and partners will join us in this endeavour.