The tiny British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the eastern Caribbean, home to just 14,000 residents, fielded its largest ever Commonwealth squad at Birmingham 2022.
The island is likely to be better known to Brits as a dream holiday destination given its location in a quiet corner of the eastern Caribbean and its 33 dazzling white-sand beaches.
The Anguilla delegation at the Games included former Commonwealth decathlete (and Miss Great Britain 2018) Ms Dee-Ann Kentish Rogers who now sits in the Anguilla government as Honorable Minister for Social Development, Youth & Culture, Education and Sports and the Governor of Anguilla, Ms Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.
Ms Kentish Rogers said "As a former Commonwealth Games athlete, I’m extremely proud that our athletes’ have performed their personal bests and set national records at the 2022 Games.
“This demonstrates that the budding potential we have witnessed will be ripe at just the right time for the Commonwealth Games 2026 in Australia. I am certain that with the buzz created from these Games, Anguilla will be able to create a legacy at home that creates a cohort of strong athletes for the future."
As of 8th August, Anguilla has further relaxed entry protocols for visitors meaning that travellers with proof of vaccination are welcome to visit without the requirement for a pre-departure PCR test. Unvaccinated visitors can also enter, on presentation of a negative PCR test result.
11 athletes competed in a total of 12 events. 2022 also marked the first Games where Anguilla competed in four sports: track events, boxing, cycling and swimming. With numerous Personal Bests achieved, and a very special visit from 4x100m gold and 200m silver medallist Zharnel Hughes (Anguillian by birth), the track team had an especially successful and enjoyable Games.
All four track competitors achieved ‘bests’ at the Games. New Personal Bests were recorded for Tri-tania Lowe (Women’s 100m), Saymon Rijo (Men’s 200m) and Terrone Webster (Men’s 100m) with a Season Best for Davin Fleming (Men’s 100m). Cyclists Hasani Hennis and Delroy Carty both competed in the Road Race and Time Trials, with Danny Laud and Zambezi Richardson also taking part in the Road Race.
In another first for the island, Hennis has become the first Anguillian cyclist to ever complete a Commonwealth Games Road Race. The squad was accompanied by officials and support staff, including the Anguilla Tourist Board’s own Tourism Assistant/Marketing Officer (Ag), Sharon Lowe. Mrs Lowe is also President of the Anguilla Cycling Association and was in Birmingham to support the four cyclists representing the nation.
Alex Lake was the first swimmer to ever represent Anguilla at the Commonwealth Games. At Birmingham 2022, he competed in five events including the 50m freestyle. The vivid orange and turquoise colours of Anguilla were also present in the boxing ring, worn by boxers Curlun Richardson (Light Heavyweight) and Japheth Olton (Heavyweight).
The Games got off to a flying start for the tiny island nation, with a lively welcome ceremony at the Athletes Village and the award of Order of Merit for President of Commonwealth Games Anguilla Kenn Banks.
Chef de Mission Cardigan Connor, a former professional cricketer who took over 1,000 wickets for Hampshire during a 15-year playing career, said “We really appreciate just being able to compete at the Games. Our pool of talent may be small but it’s mighty and we’re delighted to have been able to show just how talented they all are. Having been able to bring our largest ever squad of 13 competitors, we’re so proud that our tiny island can produce one international athlete for every 1,000 residents.”
Director of Tourism for the Anguilla Tourist Board, Stacey Liburd, said: “We’re extremely proud of our multi-talented Anguillan athletes who are competing in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. We’re sure that the team’s participation will bring some of Anguilla’s famous friendliness and sunshine spirit to Birmingham and will inspire UK travellers to visit for themselves.”