2015 Pan American Games
For over 45 years, the Virgin Islands has celebrated the Olympic tradition by sending our athletes to compete. This summer that tradition continues at the 2015 Pan American Games.
The dreams and the training of our Virgin Islands Olympians could not have been possible without the financial support of the Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and you. The Committee provided funding for travel, competition and training grants for 23 different sports.
The Virgin Islands Olympic Committee needs your help to continue a winning tradition. Become a sponsor today and help make the Olympic dream a reality for our athletes.
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There was some historic success this past week for VI Tennis in El Salvador at the highly competitive pre-qualifying rounds of the Junior Davis Cup. The three young Virgin Islands tennis players made a strong showing, winning the consolation division against Bahamas in the finals (2-1), placing 9th of 16th overall. Tomas Del Olmo, 15 of St. John anchored the team, winning 5 of his 6 singles matches. Alec Kuipers, 13 and Russell Armstrong, 14 of St. Croix also had some singles wins and some key doubles wins which advanced the team to their final position. “The VI Tennis Association congratulates the team for an outstanding performance-this is the highest we’ve ever placed in this event,” said Bill McComb, President of the Association.
“The boys worked hard and were true competitors this week,” said Captain Kevin Motta, who is known to the kids he coaches as “The Motta-vator.” “The boys really enjoyed meeting kids from all over Central America and the Caribbean- they especially enjoyed meeting the boys from Cuba, super humble, nice kids,” he added.
There were 16 teams from the Caribbean and Central America in the tournament. The final standings of the tournament in order, were as follows: Aruba, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Cuba, El Salvador, Curacao, US Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Jamaica, Panama, Bermuda, Barbados, Honduras and Nicaragua. Aruba will now advance to compete in the final qualifying round in Boca Raton, Florida for North and Central America before advancing to the final Junior Davis Cup to be held in September in Madrid, Spain where only 16 teams from all over the world compete.
The teams were all hosted by the event and were all housed and provided meals at the “all inclusive” sports complex, the “Complejo Deportive Ciudad Merliot La Libertad” in San Salvador. Running parallel to the Junior Davis Cup was the Junior Fed Cup for the girls divisions.
Alec Kuipers and Russell Armstrong will also compete in the 14 and under age category at the ITF World Tennis Championships in the Dominican Republic in March.
VERACRUZ, Mexico – To be successful in competitive sailing one must be in good physical condition, but one’s fiscal conditions play a major role as well.
Members of the Virgin Islands sailing team participating in the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, are seeing financial effects during the games.
“Equipment is very lacking. Especially for what we paid for,” Cy Thompson said. “The only people that seem to have nice boats are the ones that either got it container shipped, but more importantly, the Mexicans who have brand new gear in every class that we sail.”
Thompson, who races in the Laser class, said the boats are so old he would not accept one if it was given to him at no cost. He pointed out that the boat rented to the sailor from Antigua was logged with what seemed like 10 gallons of water.
When asked if he thinks that the selective distribution of equipment is a possible move to give certain teams and edge, he replied, “I never put it past these countries.” Thompson speaks from experience, as he was a winner in CAC Games before.
Despite the equipment issues, Team V.I. plans on sailing on to victory.
Thompson sailed his way into the qualifications for the 2016 Olympic Games scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, by making gold fleet in Spain, earlier in 2014. But he is very aware that preparing for high-level competitions bear a high level of financial considerations.
“The hard part is over, but I guess the next obstacle is the fundraising to keep things going – which is the hardest thing to do,” Thompson said.
According to Thompson, $100,000.00 is a guestimate of what it would cost for his equipment and travels for his international preparation.
“That’s a lot of money, I know, but to stay competitive that’s what you need,” Thompson said. “You need the coaches, the equipment and you need to travel to the events like the big regattas. That’s just the way it is.”
Thompson feels if you go to the Olympics without that level of preparedness, “you’re just showing up.”
“I’ve been there before,” Thompson said of the Olympics. “I want to go back, but this time I want to have a fighting chance.”
Laser class competitions are global events and Thompson would like to have equipment strategically placed at key sailing areas. “When I say equipment, I mean just being able to have boats. One boat in Rio, two boats in the U.S. and one boat in Europe so when I go there I don’t have to keep renting,” Thompson said.
Thompson has the backing and support of the V.I. Sailing Federation, but so do all other members. “It’s tough because there are a ton of athletes – ones that haven’t qualified - and need their (federation) support as well,” Thompson said. They help as much as they can, but sailing is an expensive sport.”
Team V.I. is sailing in the Sunfish, Laser, Laser Radial and the J-24 classes in Veracruz, Mexico, and the V.I. Sailing Federation has high hopes for Team V.I. and hopes that success carries over to other young V.I. sailors. Members of Team V.I. will have at least 10 days of competition in Veracruz, Mexico.
With national title in the Opti class and a win over more than 400 other competitors in the New England’s, the V.I. is expected to continue to produce great sailors.
“Grandma Luge” has retired from competitive luge racing, but not form competitive sports. Now, you can find the senior citizen athlete putting her archery skills on the line for the Virgin Islands.
Anne Abernathy is not the typical 61-year-old. The 6-time Olympian has now converted from negotiating frozen downhill courses to piercing target bulls eyes in the distance – among other things.
“The best thing about Archery is that it’s fun,” Abernathy said. “Everybody can participate at the level where they are.”
Abernathy is currently writing a series of books on Olympic sports and not far into her research she learned a fact that motivated her into action. “I found that the oldest woman to ever win an Olympic medal did so in Archery,” Abernathy said.
Steady progress is the key to development and Abernathy posted her personal bests in both the 70m and 60m distances on Tuesday. She was complemented by younger, but more experiences archers on her performance. “I’m thrilled!” Abernathy said. “The fact that they think I’m doing well – and Coach is still talking to me – it was a great day!”
Team V.I. Archery Coach Ruth Rowe agreed. “Tremendous improvement for somebody who has only shot for 20 months,” Rowe said of Abernathy. “To be shooting what she is shooting now and competing in these tournaments and being successful with them is an indication of a tremendous athlete.”
But Abernathy’s venture into Archery is not just for personal gain. “When I first talked to my coach, the first thing that we talked about was a developmental program for the V.I. Archery is something anybody can do at any age,” she said.
According to Abernathy, the future of Archery in the V.I. is showing potential for growth with ideas including indoor programs and competitions. Indoor competitions can be done online as well through means of Skype and other online video-streaming applications. Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados has already requested that the V.I. join such Archery forums.
Currently, Team V.I. Archery Coach Ruth Rowe and V.I. Archery President Dr. William Coles has a program where the offer open training for anyone interested in discovering the world of Archery. Through donations and equipment purchases, the V.I. Archery Federation provides instructors and equipment for use every weekend.
Rowe said the program is there to get people involved in the sport and potentially develop more members for the V.I. National team
Prospective archers can meet on St. Croix from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Paul E. Joseph Stadium. On St. Thomas, you can give Archery a try at the Montessori School Campus on Sundays from 3 p.m.- until dark and Monday mornings from 6 a.m. -7:30 a.m.
Abernathy still has a couple more days of competition left and the V.I. is hoping that “Grandma Luge” still has time to earn a new name – “Grandma Gold.”
Schedules and scores from the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games can be seen on veracruz2014.mx