Anguilla at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games
Friday, 23 March, 2018, a delegation from Anguilla comprising of 5 cyclists and 2 officials left the island, heading to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Australia.
Their journey took them to Atlanta and then Los Angeles, USA, where they stayed overnight. The following day they commenced their journey on a long haul flight to Brisbane, Australia, arriving on the 25 March. At Brisbane they were met by the transportation team from the Gold Coast which transported them to the Games Village.
Already at the Games Village was General Team Manager, Rollins Richardson, who started his long haul journey on Tuesday, 20 March, 2018. Rollins’ role was to make sure that everything was in place for the incoming team, allowing them a trouble free stay.
Cycling Team Anguilla arrived a week earlier than the rest of the team to allow them to participate in the arranged coaching with Brad Reardon, accredited coach for Cycling Australia, and to give them time to acclimatize.
Among the delegation to arrive on 1 April were 2 track and field athletes, 2 boxers, 3 officials/coaches, the Secretary General and her family, the Chef de Mission and the Governor of Anguilla and his wife. The Team Attaché arrived on the 2 April, and the remaining track and field athletes arrived on 3 April. Our total delegation of 37 included our 4 Australian supporters and the ACGA’s representative in Australia.
Team Anguilla was comprised of 12 athletes. Competing in Athletics were 2 male athletes: (Maurial Carty – 200m and Saymon Rijo – 200m), and 3 female athletes (Rechelle Meade – 100m, T-Kailah Richardson – 200m and Artesha Richardson – 400m). In Boxing: Curlun Richardson competed in the 69kg category and Kenwal Hodge in the 75kg category. Our Road Cycling Team of 5 was: Sherwin Osborne, Hasani Hennis, Zambezi Richardson, Huekeemi Hughes and Saleem Romney; Sherwin and Hasani also competed in the Time Trials.
St Andrews Lutheran College, Gold Coast, the School Connect partner with the Orealia Kelly Primary School, Anguilla, participated in the QBR on the 3 April, and during the run some of Team Anguilla met the pupils, teachers and parents from the school. The meeting occurred at a specified exchange point where some of the Anguilla track and field athletes were allowed to run alongside the Baton Bearer.
Thereafter two presentations (a scrap book from the Orealia Kelly Primary School and a painting from the ACGA) were made to the principal and form teacher respectively.
The Welcome Ceremony took place on 3 April; entertainment from the indigenous Aborigines was found to be educational and amusing. The team was delighted to interact with these performers!
The 4 April was the Opening Ceremony; Mauriel Carty (our 200m sprinter) was chosen to carry the flag for Anguilla. This exhilarating experience will be forever etched in the minds and hearts of the 19 Anguillians who participated in it! They will never forget their moment of glory!
The cyclists performed well during their training sessions and local races. Hasani Hennis achieving 4 place in a race and Zambezi Richardson 5 place.
Two of our cyclists participated in the Time Trials, Hasani Hennis finished 34 out of 53 and Sherwin Osborne finished 50 out of 53. Hasani finished first out of all the Caribbean islands which was commendable to say the least.
Our two boxers did us proud considering Anguilla doesn’t have a boxing ring for them to practise in, and Hurricane Irma made matters worse when she destroyed the building they used to train in. However, we were able to send them to a training camp in Trinidad for 6 weeks prior to the Games, which allowed them some invaluable ring training and the opportunity to participate in the local competitions.
Eighteen year old Curlun Richardson who competed in the 69kg weight category did extremely well against his Scottish opponent who was much more experienced than he was. Curlun showed that he can take a good punch and deliver one too by flooring his opponent a couple of times, the score, 25 – 30 to Scotland.
Nineteen year old Kenwal Hodge fought in the 75kg category and performed well against his 26 year old Samoan opponent who was vastly more experienced than him, the score, 23 – 30 to Samoa.
Our track and field athletes performed to the best of their ability but reoccurring injuries plagued most of them, hindering their performances.
The final event for Team Anguilla was the Road Cycling Race. Five cyclists from Anguilla participated in this race. Within the first 10 minutes of the race 3 of our cyclist were caught up in a crash. After the first lap Hasani Hennis’ bike developed problems so he had to change to another bike which was smaller than what he was accustomed to. His perseverance and determination helped him complete 7 laps before he was pulled out of the race. On a strange bike, that is some accomplishment, and Hasani was actually the last rider from the Caribbean to be pulled out of the race. To say the least he was disappointed. However, cyclists and officials from the Caribbean islands came over to congratulate him personally on his impressive performance!
A group of businesses on Tamborine Mountain each adopted a competing country; Granny Macs Café and Fudge Store adopted Anguilla for the duration of the Games. The owner, Mandy Ffrench, has a foster brother who is Anguillian, so she was delighted when she found out Anguilla was participating in the Games. An invite to Mandy’s café for Devonshire tea was accepted and enjoyed by all who attended from the Anguillian delegation.
Our sincere appreciation goes out to our supporters in Australia for their financial gift: Bronwen, Suzanne, Andrew and James we are forever grateful for your help, and of course our representative in Australia, Mervyn Christian for all his help in finding supporters for Team Anguilla.
Last but by no means least; thank you to the Anguilla Social Security Board for financing the total uniform/kit for the Anguilla delegation.
The participation in the 2018 Gold Coast Games will be for some, a once in a lifetime opportunity; for those who will be lucky to attend another Commonwealth Games, now know what is required of them, discipline, daily training and determination.