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Third Island Games - Faroe Islands 1989

5th-13th July 1989

The Faroe islands took part in the First Island Games in the Isle of Man, with John Kjaer as Team Managet He was elected on to the Island Games Association Executive Committee in 1985. So, having been involved from the beginning, the Association was very pleased to award the 1989 Games to the Faroe Islands, but clearly it was going to be a challenge for the organising committee.

Vaelkomin til Foroya
Welcome to the Faroe Islands It is a great honour to us on Faroe Islands to be host for the Third Island Games.

On behalf of the Faroese people I would like to welcome all participants to our country. Common for all of us is that we are island people, even if our conditions otherwise can be different. But being together both in competition and in friendship is a good opportunity for better understanding among people. I hope that you may all feel comfortable here on Faroe Islands, and my wish is that you, when the Games are over, will leave this country with good memories from our country.

Jógvan Sundstein
Prime Minister

It is a great pleasure for us on the Organising Committee to welcome you to the Third Island Games on Faroe Islands. We have since we returned home from Guernsey in September 1987 made preparations for these Games, and it is our hope that you athletes, leaders, winners and losers, when you return home again all will agree that the Island Games have come to stay. Besides that we are going to compete against each other, we do hope that our guests will be able to see other parts of our islands too. We are all islanders and the sea is our closest neighbour, but after all we all have our characteristic features. Faroe Islands is not only one Island, but 17 inhabited islands. Therefore the games will not be held in one place only, but will be held in different places on the islands. We hope that this will make your experiences especially exciting. In the short story of the Island Games, many life long friendship bonds have been forged d our hope is that these Third Island Games will make these bonds even stronger and others will be made.

Niels Nattestad,
Chairman Organising Committee

In an effort to make these Island Games as successful as possible a great deal of preparations had been done. These preparations started in 1987 when the Island Games ended in Guernsey, and it was announced that the Faroe Islands would be the next hosts for the Island Games.

An Organising Committee was elected to make these preparations, in co-operation with the local sports associations.

The Faroe Islands had never before been hosts for such a big sports event, so the organisers had no previous experience to build on, but had to rely on their own judgement and capabilities.

Some of the hardest problems to resolve were:

  • To finance the Island Games
  • To establish the necessary sports facilities
  • To accommodate the participants.

One of the biggest problems the Organising Committee had to solve was how to accommodate so many people. A little community such as the Faroes does not have hotel facilities for 800 1,200 people.

This problem was solved by the renting of schools, sports halls and other buildings which were used as hotels and meeting places for the participants during the Games.

In the village of Toftir the participants were lodged in private homes and this turned out to be a success. At the beginning some of our visitors were not so keen on the idea, but soon they were very happy to stay with the Faroese families. This way they took part in the Faroese way of life and came to know many Faroese people. On the first evening, the IGA Executive Committee travelled from Tórshavn to Toftir to have a meeting with the athletic officials. The meeting took place at 3.00 a.m. in daylight ! The Executive were very impressed with the stadium and the work of the local residents in building this fine stadium, and the arrangements made for the athletes staying in Toftir

Bearing in mind that the Faroe Islands is a very small community, sports facilities such as sports halls, football pitches, etc, are very good. These facilities were all used during the Island Games. Some sections of the roads were also used for the marathon and cycling.

One of the first problems the Organising Committee faced was that there was no athletic stadium of international standard in the Faroe Islands and this was a requirement for a host island of the Island Games. With this problem they got help from the sports Association in the village of Toftir. For years this Association had plans for building an athletic stadium. The day after it came to their knowledge that to get the Island Games to the Faroes, such an athletic stadium was needed, they contacted the Organising Committee with a complete project which they had worked out both in construction and financing.

About this, the Chairman of the Sports Association in Toftir, said in his welcome speech of the Island Games: “The Toftir Sports Association hereby greets all the participants of the Island Games and extends to them a special welcome to Toftir. For three years the Association had been looking forward to this occasia’ and making preparations. The Island Games was the first event to be held in the Toftir Athletics Stadium. When it was decided that the Games would be held in the Faroes, no facilities existed and we offered to prepare them.

The stadium is owned by the Sports Association. We organised and financed the work ourselves and this had been made possible because of the tremendous back-up we received. This came from the country at large and the municipality of Nes who undertook the work of preparing the stadium and were very positive. Last, but not least, the people in the municipality held the plans in high regard and without their generosity it would have been impossible to undertake such a large endeavour.

In all aspects regarding the Games it was evident that the villagers stood together. Therefore we can emphasise that this undertaking, was the largest the Association had ever taken upon itself, and was truly a community affair. For this, the Sports Association was extremely grateful.”

The Island Games took place on most of the islands in the Faroes. The main reason for this was to involve all the Faroese people and to make the Games a national event. All interested islands who had the necessary facilities should have a chance to host one or maybe several sports competitions. Another reason for this was that it was impossible to lodge so many people on one or two islands. All the Faroe Islands had to be involved in order to give the visitors a pleasant stay. A third reason was that so many sports competitions were held at the same time, that all existing facilities around the islands had to be used.

Archery, athletics, badminton, cycling, football,
gymnastics, judo, shooting, table tennis, swimming,
volleyball. (11)

Aland, Froya, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Hitra, Iceland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Orkney, Shetland and Anglesey (Ynys Mon). (15) A warm welcome was given to Greenland, participating for the first time. When the Third Island Games opened in Tórshavn on 5th July, hundreds of spectators, organisers, representatives from the Government and others, welcomed the 800 sports participants from 15 member islands.

After much preparation and effort, it was possible to officially open the Games on ‘Ovara VØlli’ at Gundadalur, the main Sports Stadium in Tórshavn. Mr. Niels Nattestad, Chairman of the Organising Committee, was able to bid everyone welcome. Mr. Owen le Vallée, Chairman for I.G.A., gave his speech and then Mr. Jógvan Sundstein, the Prime Minister, officially opened the Games with the sincere hope and good wishes they would benefit everyone — participants and spectators alike and the opening ceremony was excellent.

The weather was pleasant on this light summer’s eve, and many spectators had come to see the official opening, which was both pleasant and dignified, at the same time as it portrayed to everyone, these were not just ordinary sports competitions, but also these were the ‘Friendly Game’ which were about to start, when everyone held each other’s hands and started to sing in six different languages English, Swedish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian and Faroese — the song ‘The more we are together’.

The more we are together together together
the more we are together the happier we shall be.
For my friends are your friends
and your friends are my friends. The more we are together
the happier we shall be.

While competitions were in progress parties were being organised. The various sports branches had organised social events, which provided the participants with opportunities to mix and socialise. The various team leaders had also had the opportunity to meet and as is custom to exchange gifts, meet old friends see new faces and become familiar with the new people.

A large party was held in Torshavn, where representatives from all the participating islands were present together with relevant public authorities and other V.I.P.s (very important persons) who had connections with the Games. A party which promoted song and happiness, and presented the opportunity for everyone to participate in the ancient National Faroese dance — the chain-dance, which is a firm part of Faroese culture.

Culture is also a part of the Games. The host island’s obligation is to acquaint other islands with its national heritage. This was also the case in the Faroes, where the Faroese organised a traditional boat rowing competition, giving spectators the opportunity to see rowing undertaken in boats constructed according to Viking specifications a construction still used to this day in the Faroes.

Following reports from the Chairman, Hon. General Secretary and Treasurer the following officers and Executive Committee members were elected for 1989- 91:

  • Chairman: John Kjaer (Faroes).
  • Vice-Chairman: Dick Ekstrom (Aland).
  • Hon. General Secretary & Treasurer: Geoffrey Coriett (Isle of Man).
  • Committee Members: Alan Cross (Jersey), Bo Frykenstam (Gotland), Vernon Shimmin (Isle of Wight).

A Life membership was bestowed on Mr. Owen Le Vallee, retiring Chairman (Guernsey) and he was warmly thanked for his work for the Association. It was unanimously agreed that Aland be awarded the 1991 Games.

Because the sports venues were on different islands, the organising committee decided that there would be four ceremonies to take place simultaneously, all starting at 2200 hours. The Staour or places were Klaksvik, where the representative from the next host island (Aland), was Mr. Bo Sjoblom, Toftir, where Aland was represented by Marie Louise Sandberg, Tvoroyri, and the main ceremony was held in the stadium at Tórshavn, where Mr Dick Ekstrom, the IGA Vice-Chairman, was invited to represent Aland.

At 2200 hours promptly the ceremony opened with a parade of flag bearers, marching in alphabetical order and then forming up in front of main stand, when the flags were lowered during the playing of the Faroese National Anthem. Following a welcoming address, there was entertainment provided by a choir, followed by a display of gymnastics and finally a colourful display of traditional Faroese Dancing.

Mr. Niels Nattestad, Chairman of the Organising Committee, gave his address and then presented the Year of Sport Trophy to the Isle of Man congratulating the team on achieving their third consecutive win. Mr Owen Le Vallee (Guernsey), Chairman of the Island Games Association, responded by congratulating the Faroe Islands on staging a most successful Games and expressed thanks to the Faroese people for their wonderful hospitality.

The closing speech was by the President of the I.S.E, Mr Hedin Mortensen. The ceremony concluded with the lowering of the IGA Games flag, with the flag bearers dipping their flags in salute. Mr Natterstad then handed the IGA flag to Dick Ekstrom (Aland) for safe keeping, to be raised again at the Opening Ceremony in Aland in 1991. Mr Dick Ekstrom announced that the people of Aland were very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to the Fourth Games in Aland when he hoped to see all those present and many more meeting again to celebrate another ‘Friendly Games’.

And so the Third Games were over, and it was party time to enjoy and savour the many happy memories of a memorable week in the Faroe Islands.

Courtesy of Geoff Corlett

Sports Held

Below is a list of sports held at these games. Once results are available they will be linked below.