(Photo Credit: Todd VanSickle, BVI Beacon)
Minister for Sports, Dr. the Hon. Natalio Wheatley, after congratulating Chantel Malone for winning gold at the Pan Am Games, announced that this victory is a signal that the Territory is ready for the Olympics.
The Minister during a radio interview said he wanted to attend the games being held in Peru, but was unable to because of scheduling issues. Hon. Wheatley explained that his plans to attend was not only to support the BVI athletes, but also to support the organization, which he noted was very instrumental in rehabilitating the sport track.
In stressing the significance of Malone's accomplishment, the Minister said, “To compete against the biggest countries in the world and compete for gold is an amazing accomplishment. If you think of all the countries you have to compete against in the Pan Am Games — South America, Central America and all of the Caribbean countries - Jamaica, the United States, all of those. I think that's a fantastic achievement.”
Hon. Wheatley also mentioned that efforts are being made to foster more local athletes.
“We’re trying to improve the facility at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Grounds. Also in the Eighth, FIFA is doing a fantastic job getting the soccer field ready and that soccer field is going to have a track, so that's a good thing,” he said.
“The facilities are one thing, but we want to make sure as well that we are very supportive of the programs that the BVI Athletics Association is putting on,” the Minister added.
Hon. Wheatley also noted that since taking office, he has been very keen to support the BVI Athletics Association's initiatives and says that Government will continue to offer more support.