Information Officer II
Department of Information & Public Relations
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley said the Territory has established itself as one of the leaders in the world with Gold medalist Chantel Malone’s leap in the 2019 Pan Am Games.
Hon. Wheatley congratulated Ms. Malone for winning the Territory’s first ever Gold Medal at the games held in Lima, Peru and commended the other athletes of the British Virgin Islands Team for doing their part in bringing light to the talent that comes out of the Territory. The minister in remarks at a Recognition Ceremony in honour of Ms. Malone and other athletes encouraged the team to continue to excel as they prepare for World Championships and the 2020 Olympics.
The Government of the Virgin Islands awarded Ms. Malone thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) and a half an acre of land for her gold achievement of jumping 6.68 meters in the Women’s Long Jump at the Pan Am Games.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Honurable Andrew A. Fahie said that Chantel’s success is a testament that if you remain focused, greatness will be the outcome. He also thanked the athletes and coaches for what they all have done in the international arena.
“We cannot pay for that kind of marketing, that kind of promotion; we cannot pay for it because it goes far reaching.” Premier Fahie said, adding, “There was a time when Usain Bolt came on the scene, people felt that if you want to get good you have to go to Jamaica to train but we all realize now that greatness has nothing to do with where you go but what is inside of you once you decide to bring it out.”
Ms. Malone in her response thanked her sponsors, supporters, coaches and fellow team mates for keeping her motivated.
She said, “Winning gold was my validation that once you stay true to yourself, your vision, your beliefs, and your worth and if you completely put your trust in Jehovah, you will never fail. When I step on the track and put on my uniform, I represent our people. I represent our resilience, our determination and most importantly our heart.”
The gold medalist also asked that the Territory continues to develop avenues for athletes to be given a fair shot on the world stage by providing the resources that they need.
“In order for us to compete on the same level as our competitors, we need to even the playing field. We need access to treatments and recovery options without worrying about whether or not we can pay for it. This is our job. We are athletes for the BVI.” She added, “We are no longer going to a meet just to say that we are there. We are going there with the intent to make a mark and put our country on the map. Stand behind our athlete and give us the best shot of bringing home that Olympic gold medal.”
Chantel Malone along with other BVI athletes, including Kyron McMaster, Eldred Henry and Ashley Kelly will be preparing to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and the Government of the Virgin Islands will continue to support its athletes as they continue to excel on the world stage.