The Commonwealth Games often conjures up inspirational sporting stories - take Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands.

At Gold Coast 2018, the 400 metres hurdler won the first medal in the territory's history - a gold - in exceptionally poignant circumstances.

A little over seven months before he raced to glory in 48.25sec, the runner's coach was tragically killed during Hurricane Irma.

Xavier "Dag" Samuels was an instrumental part of McMaster's success but was not there to see his student's greatest moment after falling off a roof during what was then the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.

Four people died in the British Virgin Islands in all, and the fact McMaster was able to rebound so spectacularly just weeks after the cruellest of blows was little short of remarkable.

"I said every day immediately after that 'I don't want to continue track because I really have very little motivation left,'" McMaster, who was fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said after his victory.

"I might not cry out here, but when I go back to the hotel, me and my team-mate are going to sit down on the porch and just cry."

Mark Chapman, the British Virgin Islands Chef de Mission for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, described McMaster's victory as "really big".

"There were big celebrations during the Games and there was a welcome home for the athletes and Kyron," he told insidethegames.

"His coach died in September 2017 so it was a big transition for him the following year.

"He got a new coach and moved to America to train. It was big, we were happy.

"That was like the best field ever in the 400m hurdles. We'd like to repeat." 

Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands won gold in the 400 metres hurdles at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images
Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands won gold in the 400 metres hurdles at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images

British Virgin Islands sent 10 athletes to Gold Coast and all of them faced a race against time after Irma's devastating impact.

"The track was all ripped up, it was horrendous," said Chapman. "Our mini-van was totalled, our houses - the roofs came off. 

"It was maybe two weeks before the Chef de Mission meeting in Gold Coast. But we made it there, and six months later we made it to the Games.

"It took two years to get facilities back together, but we get support from Olympic Solidarity and Panam Sports.

"Panam Sports paid for the track to be re-laid. The facilities are now better than they were before."

Between 12 and 14 athletes are currently tipped to represent British Virgin Islands at Birmingham 2022, which would be their biggest party ever.

The majority will be in athletics, with others competing in squash and swimming.

As well as McMaster's title defence, focus will be placed on long jumper Chantel Malone, the gold medallist at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.

When McMaster received his gold in 2018, the British national anthem God Save The Queen was played, but that will not be the case if he repeats next year.

A new song - called Oh, Beautiful Virgin Islands - has been recorded to provide some local identity and will be played at the team's Birmingham welcome ceremony.

"It was in the making probably for 10 years," said Chapman. "Other overseas territories had moved away and got their own national song to replace God Save The Queen for a while. 

"But as you can imagine it's not a straightforward thing to do. 

"You have to get the recordings done, then it has to comply with the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games Federation and all their requirements. And then the Government has to approve it.

"It's nice when you sing it, the version which will play if we win a gold medal is an instrumental.

"Tokyo would have been the first Olympic Games where we would have played it but there wasn't a team welcome ceremony."

Chantel Malone won the long jump title at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima ©Getty Images
Chantel Malone won the long jump title at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima ©Getty Images

Chapman was the Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission at Gold Coast 2018 and Glasgow 2014.

He also took the role at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics when British Virgin Islands - not a place known for its snow and ice - sent halfpipe skier Peter Crook.

Other jobs include treasurer of the British Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and President of the territory's squash association.

In squash, Mark's son Joe is a former top 100 player who is in line to feature at his fifth Commonwealth Games.

Hurricane Irma left its mark on the sport - flattening two courts on the main island of Tortola - but two new ones are now being built and are hoped to be ready by the end of January.

"Because of the hurricane threat it's got to be solid," Chapman said. "We're going to have this doubles court with a movable wall where you can play doubles and two lots of singles. 

"That's a great development for the country and squash here. We've already got a doubles court in Virgin Gorda so we'll probably be the only country in the Caribbean with two doubles courts. 

"Doubles is a significant part of squash at the Commonwealth Games, it's entertaining." 

Before Birmingham 2022, British Virgin Islands is due to take nine athletes to the inaugural Junior Pan American Games in Cali in Colombia this month.

The main sponsor for sport in the islands is Puma, and COVID-19 has not had the major impact it has had elsewhere.

"We've had about 2,000 cases in total, but apart from about 100 they all came in one month," said Chapman. "They came and then they just went. 

"Sadly, we had a number of deaths. For the longest time we had just the one death, but during that month which was just after we'd opened our borders, we had about 30 deaths. 

"When we were locked down it was a worse lockdown than it was in the UK, but it was short, sharp ones. 

"We had tennis, squash and athletics all pretty much happening normally. The gym closed twice during the pandemic, once for two weeks and once for a month, and that was it. 

Joe Chapman, the son of British Virgin Islands Chef de Mission Mark, is in line to appear at a fifth Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Joe Chapman, the son of British Virgin Islands Chef de Mission Mark, is in line to appear at a fifth Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"Everyone's been able to carry on training. The elite athletes are in Atlanta and Greensborough, they all have professional coaches and our job is to keep them economically sound. 

"They've got to have no trouble with their coach fees, their living expenses and their recuperation and travel to competitions. There's been very little impact to be honest." 

Chapman said the public in British Virgin Islands would get behind Birmingham 2022, with a Beach Games event planned for when the Baton Relay visits in May.

"Everyone knows it's going on," he said. "They love Kyron, Chantel Malone... 

"We've got at least three who went to Glasgow and Gold Coast who are likely going to Birmingham. 

"There's a big buzz about it. There is a following."

Birmingham 2022 is splitting its Athletes' Village up across three sites as a cost-cutting measure, but Chapman is on board with the idea and believes the Games will be a success.

"It's impressive what they've done considering they decided not to build the Village," he said. 

"Utilising the three facilities is a great idea and I think it'll work out really well. 

"We'll be in the university where I'm imagining most of the small countries will be. 

"The Commonwealth Games, it isn't all about medals - it's about going and the camaraderie. 

"The team has such a great experience and it's just 10 days of bliss. It changes their lives, a lot of them."