(Photo Credit: Provided)
Swimmer, Elinah Phillip and track athlete, Malik John will be representing the Virgin Islands at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The third edition of the Games will take place October 6 – 18.
According to the BVI Olympic Committee, Phillip, who is 18 years old, will be competing in the 50m and 100m Freestyle and the 50m Butterfly. Her first event is the Women’s 100m Freestyle heat on October 8th.
This will be Malik John’s first attendance at the YOG. The 17 years old runner will be competing in the 400m with his heat on October 11th.
While this will be Phillip’s first YOG, she made her Olympic Games debut at age 16 when she swam in the 50m Freestyle at Rio 2016, becoming the VI’s first swimmer to compete at a Summer Games. Since then, she has competed successfully in several events in the UK and on the international circuit.
Phillip was a multiple medalist in the Swim England East Region and the winner of the Wilkinson Sword Award 2018, awarded annually for achievement in the sport of swimming.
Regionally, She scored a place in VI sporting history when she won 3 silver medals at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica, March 31 – April 3. Her hat trick delivered a total of 10 medals won by her at CARIFTA, representing the most medals ever won by any BVI athlete in all CARIFTA sporting events.
Earlier this season, Phillip competed in 2 events at the British Summer National Championships held in Sheffield, UK from July 24 – 29, 2018. She reached the final in both events, placing 5th and 7th, and attaining a personal best and setting a VI national record in the process.
More recently, Phillip was a PanAm Sports Camp participant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from August 30 – September 11. The goal was for athletes throughout the Americas to develop, share experiences with other athletes and receive world-class training from renowned specialists in their sport.
Phillip then went on to compete in the FINA Swimming World Cup 2018 held in Eindhoven, Netherlands from September 28th -30th where she placed 5th in her 50m Butterfly heat with a time of 27.31, shaving 0.42 off her PB achieved a month previously and resetting the national record.
Phillip also ranked 19/49 in the 50m Freestyle with a time of 25.62 and she placed 27/49 in the 100m Freestyle with a time of 57.00 before traveling to the Youth Olympic Games.
“I am really looking forward to racing, meeting athletes from around the world and experiencing Argentinian culture,” said Elinah Phillip.
Relative new comer to the bigger competitive stage, John started competing in track events in 2015 and has participated in the 2016 CUT Games, the 2017 and 2018 Carifta Games, the 2018 Golden South and the 2018 Barbados invitational.
He is a member of the Sprint Tech Track Club which falls under the umbrella of the National Federation BVI Athletics Association.
"I am very happy to have been selected as part of the BVI delegation to compete and experience Argentinian culture. I intend to represent the British Virgin Islands to the best of my abilities," said Malik John.
In addition to the two athletes, Keanu George of the Valley, Virgin Gorda will attend the YOG as one of the 80 Youth Change Makers (YCM) from across the globe. Nominated by the BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), George will be expected to facilitate the VI’s athletes’ participation in “learn & share” activities and encourage them to experience the YOG spirit of Compete, Learn and Share.
George is an Honors graduate of the Bregado Flax High School. He obtained an Associate Degree in Computer, Graphic Information Technology at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC). He was an athlete of the Raw Skillz Track Club of Virgin Gorda and currently works at the Wright Choice Canteen as a Manager.
The VI delegation includes Cleave Farrington, Chef de Mission; Benoit Grattepanche, Swimming Coach; Tracy Bradshaw, swimming chaperone; Ralston Henry, Athletics Coach; and Ephraim Penn, President, BVIOC.
Ephraim Penn congratulated the athletes on their achievements and selection.
“This has been a phenomenal sports year for the Virgin Islands with incredible results achieved by our young and senior athletes competing regionally and globally," Penn commented.
He added, "It is fitting that we close out 2018 with the participation of these two young athletes who represent hope for our continued success in major international Games. We look forward to supporting and encouraging them at Buenos Aires 2018."