OECS Member States Conclude Pan Am Games with Biggest Medal Haul Ever

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The XVIII Pan American (Pan Am) Games concluded in Lima, Peru on August 11, 2019, after approximately two weeks of competition, featuring 9,500 athletes from 41 territories in the western hemisphere. 

The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) was represented by contingents from Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Coming into the Games, the OECS territories had a combined 20 all-time competing medals, in their own right, with the longest-tenured territory having been Antigua and Barbuda, which has competed since 1979. Some territories, however, would have participated in earlier iterations as part of the British West Indies.

Women's high jump medallists.
Photo Credit: Henry Bailey
Women’s high jump medallists.
Photo Credit: Henry Bailey

The Lima Games were the most successful ever for the OECS Member States. Four OECS territories got a combined total of eight medals at this year’s Games, as compared to five territories getting one medal each at the 2015 Games in Toronto, Canada.

Leading this year’s medal charge was Anderson Peters, who got gold for Grenada in men’s javelin throw. The two-time reigning collegiate champion in the United States, Peters set a Games record of 87.31m in relegating Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott to second place. Peters and Walcott were joined on the victory stand by fellow former CARIFTA champion, Albert Reynolds. Reynolds, representing Saint Lucia, became his country’s first male Pan Am Games medalist since Dominic Johnson in the 2003 pole vault.

Anderson Peters (Grenada) and Albert Reynolds (Saint Lucia) men's javelin throw gold and bronze. 
Photo Credit: Henry Bailey
Anderson Peters (Grenada) and Albert Reynolds (Saint Lucia) men’s javelin throw gold and bronze. 
Photo Credit: Henry Bailey

For Saint Lucia, Levern Spencer won a second consecutive gold medal in the women’s high jump. Per statistician Reynold O’Neal, Spencer is the greatest accumulator of international medals among OECS athletes. As was the case in Toronto in 2015, the silver medal went to Antigua and Barbuda’s Priscilla Frederick. In the same event Spencer’s compatriot, Jeannelle Scheper finished one place out of the medals, improving one place from 2015.

Levern Spencer (Saint Lucia), women's high jump champion.
Photo credit: Henry Bailey
Levern Spencer (Saint Lucia), women’s high jump champion.
Photo credit: Henry Bailey

Cejhae Greene joined Frederick as one of three medallists for Antigua and Barbuda, capturing bronze in the men’s 100 metres. Antigua and Barbuda was the only OECS territory to get a medal in a sport other than athletics. Alston Ryan won bronze in the boxing competition, specifically the men’s 64-kg weight class.

Until 2019, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Aruba had been the only participating territories never to have had a medalist at the Pan Am Games. Now, Aruba stands alone. Chantel Malone, a long jump finalist at the 2017 World Championships and gold and silver medallist at the C.A.C. Games, won the women’s long jump in Lima by two centimetres.

Photo Credit: Henry Bailey
Photo Credit: Henry Bailey

From Grenada, 2015 men’s decathlon silver medallist Kurt Felix withdrew early on in the two-day competition with injury. But his brother, Lindon Victor, remained very much in the thick of things. Victor, the Commonwealth Games champion, ended up giving the Spice Isle its second straight silver medal in the same event.

Of the seven teams under examination, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines failed to build on their single medals from Toronto. But with the BVI adding to the medals table, and Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda remaining and improving their tally from 2015, this was the biggest medal haul ever for OECS Member States at these Games. 

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