The men’s marathon and women’s beach volleyball events kicked off the 2019 Pan American Games for the U.S. Virgin Islands (ISV) Olympic Committee’s delegation in Lima, Peru, on Saturday.
Team ISV’s delegation will be represented by nearly 50 athletes, coaches, support staff and officials for the duration of the Games which takes take place from July 26 through Aug. 11. The 29 athletes will be competing in several disciplines including boxing, basketball, swimming, sailing, beach volleyball and athletics.
Events in the two latter sports were completed on Saturday by Eduardo Garcia, who competed in the Men’s Marathon event in his Pan American Games debut, as well as the duo of Mannika Charles and Desiree Miranda, who competed in Women’s Beach Volleyball.
Athletes will be competing in cooler weather conditions since it is currently winter in Lima. Average day temperatures during the Games will be in the low to mid 60s. During the evenings, they can expect temperatures to hover in the high 50s.
Garcia welcomed the change of weather from the extreme heat he’s been training under in South Carolina. He finished the cloudy, chilly marathon course Saturday morning that wove through downtown Lima with a time of 2:19:12, edging out four other runners to finish 12th out of 16. Host country Peru took home the gold thanks to Christian Pacheco Mendoza who finished with a time of 2:10:41.
“I felt very good about the race. I definitely put myself in position to perform well, and I wasn’t too far off of my personal best mark, so it was a solid day,” Garcia said.
Garcia, whose father is from St. Croix, said that he is always excited to represent the islands during competition.
“For me, this was something very special. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, the Pan American Games and the Olympics — still working towards that — so just being able to come out and represent the Virgin Islands I take a lot of pride in that,” he said.
The USVI women’s volleyball team, though not successful in their matches, competed against a vast field of countries over the past few days. Their tournament, which began on Wednesday, July 24 – a few days ahead of the official start of the Games — included matches with Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guatemala with the latter two matches occurring on Saturday.
Team ISV also participated in the Opening Ceremonies for the Games, which occurred Friday, July 26, and was met with rousing support from Peruvian attendees and visitors from across the region. The show, which gave a profound and colorful depiction of the history and culture of Peru was capped off by a performance from famed Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, who is recently known for his hit song “Despacito.”
For information about the USVI athletes, their results and schedule, visit www.lima2019.pe/en.