Addressing the media: From L-R: Coach Winston Potter, J´Maal Alexander, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Governor Boyd McCleary, President of the BVIOC, Ephraim Penn and Chef de Mission, Dag Samuels.
Photo Credit: BVIOC
The Virgin Islands has digested their performance at the just concluded 2012 Olympic Games in London and although the Territory has not improved on its performance from four years ago, frontline officials see better days ahead.
Sprinters Tahesia Harrigan-Scott and J'Maal Alexander, along with officials who attended the London Games faced the media for the first time yesterday, August 20. Also present at the press conference was Governor Boyd McCleary who participated in a number of local events leading up to the games.
Personal Coach of the 2012 team, Winston Potter said that even though the Territory did not improve on their 2008 olympics performance at Beijing, the athletes have done their best given the circumstances in which they had to organize.
It was disclosed that Harrigan-Scott has been battling injury throughout the season and Alexander also battled injury.
"Yes Your Excellency, better days are coming," Potter stated.
"I want to say starting next year, you will start seeing those days. We have a bunch of young athletes coming up and they are great. I can say from here on you're going to see some great performances. I almost want to guarantee something, but I will leave it as a surprise," Potter added.
He noted that the team has learnt a great deal, pointing out that the whole aspect of athletics has changed.
"The dynamics of really going out and performing has changed tremendously. We have caught up and it has taken a different turn, so now we have to learn that turn and move on from there. I think we have the personnel to do that," the coach stated.
The Virgin Islands does not have to look far for the next wave of track and field athletes. Chantel Malone, Karene King and Ashley Kelly were three of the hopefuls to narrowly miss the qualifying marks for London 2012.
For Harrigan-Scott, the London Games was her second olympics outing. Unlike in Beijing when she made it to the semi-finals of the 100 meters, this year, Harrigan-Scott did not make it past her first race.
"For me as an athlete being able to attend the olympics for a second time, I had a wonderful experience this trip...Yes, I had a hard season, but at the end of the day I am out there to perform and I am out there to do exactly what I need to make sure that I get the job done. With my season going the way it did, it's an experience for me and I take a lot out of it because the times I ran this year I never thought about and with the injury that I had, it was almost a struggle, so I had to push myself a little bit harder," Harrigan-Scott stated.
She plans to hold camps locally and invite other international runners to visit the BVI to share the camps. However, Harrigan-Scott has already started to impart some of her knowledge which she shared with Alexander.
Harrigan-Scott said that she and her husband spoke to Alexander, who they believe can run 10:20 or lower.
"I have seen the hard work that you [Alexander] put in. I know that trouble will find you every now and then, but as we spoke before, sometimes we just have to walk away from situations and sometimes walk away from the fun that you think you might have and experience the bigger things that you are going to get in life from doing the right thing," Harrigan-Scott stated.
She added, "There is a lot that can be done with him [Alexander], but I told him he needs to be more focused; he needs to push himself a little bit harder and not just push himself to beat the next best person here because our competition is not only in Tortola; it's around the world. So if we continue to strive for greater things and not settle for what you can do or what you're doing at the moment, you wouldn't rise, but if you continue to push and push and see that person that you want to beat and clip them off as you go, then you would be great".
She noted that her performance was not the best, but next year she plans to do better things. Harrigan-Scott also shared a message to the three women who narrowly missed the qualifying standard.
"Not because you did not qualify for a time means that you are not great, because we are all great. We all have different greatness upon us and sometimes we need something in ourselves; for me it was my injury, to kind of push us a little further. I think 2016 in Rio; the 2013 world championship is going to be a wonderful experience...Tortola is recognized and we will be recognized from here on now and I do believe that that we have great athletes in this country; not because we are a small country we can't produce great athletes," Harrigan-Scott stated.
Chef de Mission, Mr Dag Samuels (right) hands over commemorative tokens from the London Games to President of the BVIOC, Ephraim Penn.
Photo Credit: BVIOC
Alexander also spoke about his experience at the Games and his fascination about the crowd support and seeing the stars which he would have seen on television.
"Competing in the olympics as a young athlete, that's something that a lot of people don't get and also to represent our country is also something great. Other places, thousands of people are trying to compete and qualify for one event and normally there are only three athletes that you can bring to compete in that particular event...For me being there in London, I will never forget," Alexander stated.
Both athletes thanked the families who took them into their homes in Hertfordshire. An emotional Harrigan said that she would never forget them and would miss them for the rest of her life.
Also speaking during the press conference were Governor McCleary; National Coach and Chef de Mission, Dag Samuels; President of the BVIOC, Ephraim Penn; and Janette Brin, Marketing Manger of LIME which has been very supportive of the BVIOC work.