NatWest Island Games XIV - Isle of Wight 2011
25th June - 1st July 2011
After an 18 year absence, the NatWest Island Games returned to the Isle of Wight and it was once again record breaking!
The landscape had much changed since 1993:
Not least the growth, all 24 of our member Islands attending making it the largest multi-sport event in Great Britain and Europe in the calendar year.
The sheer number of participants was also noticeable at 3435! This included 2311 competitors and 554 sports officials taking part in 14 sports as well as visiting media, VIPs and spectators that accompanied some of the teams not to mention the many hundreds of volunteers from the Island needed to run the event.
And also the Games winners’ medals - made for the first time out of glass. The UK’s leading studio glass designers, Isle of Wight Studio Glass Limited were commissioned to produce 1555 Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the Games.
One thing that remained constant throughout was the spirit - a true accomplishment in the name of fellowship and sport at the highest level.
Naturally, the leading Islands in terms of participants were the usual suspects with the Isle of Wight contributing 271 athletes on home soil, followed closely by Guernsey (219), Jersey (205) and the Isle of Man (200).
Last minute funding difficulties unfortunately meant Prince Edward Island was unable to send basketball and football teams, a decision which ultimately led to their resignation as members of the International Island Games Association on 30th May 2011.
If the amount of planning and research undertaken had impressed the Membership of the IIGA when awarding the 2011 Games to the Isle of Wight, then it received the royal seal of approval once the action was underway.
Prince Edward admitted he was ‘impressed’ with the Island's sporting facilities. The International Island Games Association also praised the locals for turning out in such strong numbers to watch the variety of sports being contested.
Only time will tell but it’s hoped the benefits to the Island will match the competition legacy to that which will be experienced by London now it has held the Olympics.
With facilities upgraded to the required standard to host events, leader of the Isle of Wight Council David Pugh called for them to act as an inspiration for the island's youths - ‘nurturing sporting talent from a young age and giving them the best platform with which to develop their skills'.
The XIVth NatWest Island Games officially opened with a fanfare by Lord Coe, preceded by a colourful carnival through the streets of Ryde celebrating the story of the Isle of Wight.
But the adventure had actually started long before the Opening Ceremony.
Just like in Aland two years earlier, the contingent from St Helena had the longest journey because they don’t have an airport on their remote island.
They embarked on a mammoth journey from the South Atlantic to the Isle of Wight but one worth the effort.
The Falkland Isles also set out on their journey but a volcanic ash cloud meant their route was relayed via Chile, Madrid and Greenland.
As Lord Coe, explained: ‘When you bring communities together and you bring them from different cultures and different languages and different backgrounds, there is one language we all speak and that is sport’.
Among some exceptional individual and record breaking performances, a total of 578 medals were presented and 20 out of the 24 member Islands went home with at least two medals.
When the curtain came down on the NatWest Island Games in the Isle of Wight, the final medal table showed Guernsey to be the strongest overall, amassing a total of 40 Gold, 42 Silver and 25 Bronze medals.
Next came the Isle of Man, sandwiched between the Channel Islands, with a tally of 26-22-20, followed by third placed Jersey with figures of 23-30-30.
As IIGA Chairman Jorgen Pettersson summed up: ‘They arrived as islanders and competitors and left as friends.’
A Games that our Pater Ludorum, the late Geoffrey Corlett, looked back on with pride.
The adventure continues.
Next stop Bermuda - and the 'sunshine' Games! Bring your Sports and Shorts to the NatWest Island Games XV!
You can find more information about the 2011 NatWest Island Games at www.natwestislandgames2011.co.uk.
Below is a list of sports held at these games. Once results are available they will be linked below.
For a profile about a member simply click their name below.
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