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Logo for NatWest Island Games XVIII Gibraltar 2019

NatWest Island Games XVIII Gibraltar 2019

6th - 12th July 2019

The Gibraltar 2019 Games has showcased Gibraltar’s ability to organise international competitions as well as the passion that exists locally for sports and sporting events.  The Games benefitted from new state of the art sporting facilities. These venues create new opportunities for income generation and have the potential to showcase Gibraltar as a host city for international events. 

Gibraltar hosted the NatWest International Island Games XVIII for the second time from the 6th to the 12th July 2019.  The first was in 1995 affectionately named ‘The Sunshine Games’.
Gibraltar 2019 offered 14 sports:

  • Athletics and Swimming were held at the new Lathbury Sports Complex
  • Badminton and Squash were held at the new Europa Point Sports Complex
  • Basketball was held at the Bayside Sports Complex, Tercentenary Sports Hall
  • Beach Volleyball was held at the Europa Pool Facility also known as Nuffield Pool
  • Cycling saw three events being organised, the Road Race, Town Criterium and a Time Trial that started at the iconic Europa Point.  The Town Criterium started at Bishop Caruana Road and the Road Race at Catalan Bay
  • Judo was held at the Ministry of Defence, Devil’s Tower Camp Gymnasium
  • Sailing was held off Western Beach with competitors sailing back to the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club to change rigs
  • Shooting included three disciplines.  Clay Target that took place at the newly renovated Clay Target Range on the Europa Advance Road, Pistol was held at the Pistol Shooting Range close to the Lathbury Barracks Sports Complex and Willis’s Magazine.  Rifle shooting was held at the new Rifle Shooting Complex, New Mole Road
  • Table Tennis was held at the St Joseph’s First and Middle School Sports Halls
  • Tennis was held at the Gibraltar Sandpits Lawn Tennis Club and the Bayside Sports Complex (Multi Use Games Area)
  • Ten Pin Bowling was held at the Kings Bastion Leisure Centre
  • Triathlon was held at Eastern Beach and the eastern side of Gibraltar
  • The Gibraltar 2019 NatWest International Island Games will fondly be remembered for the excitement generated and the success of our local and visiting island athletes and for the warm support shown by Gibraltarians who enjoy hosting international competitions. It has been argued that apart from the sporting highlights, the Gibraltar 2019 Games will be remembered for the sporting legacies and opportunities that it has created beyond the life of the Games. We now have the experience and the partnerships (within the public and sectors) to stage successful events and could become the ideal host location for major international sports and be recognised as a prominent sport event destination in the Mediterranean.
  • In short, Gibraltarians are passionate about sport, proud to showcase the Rock and now have proven experience of hosting international sports events.


Accommodation was always going to be an issue for the Gibraltar 2019 Organising Committee (OC) with only a total of 760 hotel beds.

The OC had a stroke of luck in that the Ministry of Defence were handing a large housing estate over to the Government of Gibraltar. The Government and OC decided to use the Europa Walks estate as the Athletes’ Village prior to selling on the houses to the general public. 

In parallel the new University of Gibraltar accommodation halls were being built and also able to be used for athletes’ accommodation.

Tree Planting Ceremony

The Tree Planting Ceremony was held at the Alameda Botanic Gardens, Wellington Memorial on Wed 10th July.

Our Sporting Heroes Exhibition (until Sat 13th July)

To celebrate the Gibraltar 2019 Games a major retrospective exhibition was organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services.  ‘Our Sporting Heroes’ was a tribute to Gibraltar’s participation at the Island Games over 30 years. 

The Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony was held at the new Europa Point Stadium on Saturday 6th July. The Pre-Ceremony entertainment commenced with the Royal Marines Band. This was followed by the march past of the 22 participating islands athletes and officials. There followed speeches by the OC Chairperson Linda Alvarez, IGA President Jorgen Pettersson and the Chief Minister Fabian Picard who declared the games open. There followed the traditional ‘Water Ceremony’ and concluded with a special choreographed piece by Nathan Conroy.

Gibraltar Medals


Organisational Structure

A strategic Transport Management plan was developed which set out the timelines and structures. This proved a vital tool.
Sub working groups were formed covering the arrival / departure process, Fleet and traffic management. Each group had representatives from various governmental departments together with commercial and private businesses. 

Walking Strategy

Due to the reduced geographical footprint and proximity of venues and accommodation, the GIGOC decided to encourage walking as a preferred mode of transport.  20 minutes was considered as a reasonable distance to walk and any venue / accommodation within that radius an expectation was placed on individuals to opt for walking. This was also part of the sustainability programme to reduce the carbon footprint.
A decommissioned footpath was also open for athletes staying at the village to access Lathbury Sports Complex, which was well received.
Walking maps and mobile phone apps were developed to expose the proximity of venues and accommodation.


The Media has a major role to play in the success of any Games, as was the case for the Gibraltar 2019 Games.  Not only did they provide detailed coverage of the sporting events, but they also informed the public of important related issues like the road closures and diversions and bus route changes as was the case in Gibraltar.

In the build-up contact was made with all participating Islands to establish how many media personnel would be coming; the total number being 75 with representatives from the majority of the Islands which included television crews, radio journalists and photographers. The official Games website ( was used as a means of communication prior to the competition with regular updates here on how things were progressing.  A media page was also included in the website to share Brand Guidelines, Mascot logo, Gibraltar 2019 Games logo and the 14 x Sport Icons.

The Gibraltar media was made up of a large team with the national broadcaster GBC and main publications providing a valuable service with daily updates and reports throughout the event. GBC also provided a free live satellite feed of the Opening Ceremony, which was used by some of the visiting media. They also broadcast a special, daily, one-hour evening programme during the competition, with live interviews, reports and the highlights of the day.

Coverage of the Games was also provided by a small Games Media team, part of the Organising Committee, with live Facebook streaming, highlights of races and events and   interviews provided on social media, covering some of the main action. A team of 3 x students, studying sports journalism from UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) were also affiliated to the Games and worked tirelessly throughout to add to this service. The experience for them has been extremely rewarding and beneficial as they were able to be hands-on throughout also working with established professionals in the field.  The students were supported by a Lecturer who was on hand to supervise them and offer advise during the week.

Games Photos

An initiative for the Gibraltar 2019 Games which was met with positive reviews, was the provision of a team of Official Games Photographers which provided free photos through a Dropbox folder, this service was free to use by any media outlet involved in the Games. The Photography Team captured a lot of the action and special moments of the Games.  Photos are available until mid-2020 from our website


Local insurance company Argus sponsored our volunteers who were subsequently called “Argus Games Makers”

We started meeting the different Sports associations in September 2017. The reason for this was that we wanted to know how many volunteers they would require for their sport during the week of the Games. This was a rough estimate and we were aware that the number would change as we got closer to the Games. We launched the NatWest International Gibraltar Island Games website and people were able to register their interest. Initially we received a lot of interest from overseas, but with accommodation restrictions in Gibraltar, we decided to focus on local volunteers. We created a database and all the information from volunteers was added to it.

Identifying Volunteers Roles

Identifying the main types of volunteers required needed to have been done sooner rather than later so people could see what roles were available: attachés, Games office staff (prior to Games), meet and greet teams at the airport, Ceremonies, transport, media, merchandise, security, uniform distribution, accommodation, medical, VIP/Sponsor liaison and sport specific volunteers.


We offered our Games Makers a variety of courses. We had a Generic Induction Training course (510 Games Makers Attended), 5 of these courses were delivered including one on Friday the 5th of July (day before opening ceremony) for last minute Games Makers as well as the UCLan and Louisville Team. This gave a general overview of the Ethos of the Games and our expectations of how a Games Maker should behave when dealing with the public as well as a talk delivered by the Royal Gibraltar Police on suspicious items, evacuation procedures and a basic awareness on terrorism and counter-terrorism. We also offered: Exis training, Safeguarding Children and Young people in Sport (57 Games Makers), First Aid training (117 Games Makers), On-site Security Officer training for our Venue Security Officers, training for Marshals. Each sport then offered sport specific training relevant to their volunteers. A comprehensive electronic booklet was sent to all the volunteers with the information that had been delivered in the Induction training. They were then able to refer to the booklet if they had any queries from visitors and spectators.


Different colour polo shirts were allocated to various Functional Areas to allow for easy identification, these being:

  • Games Makers   (Turquoise)
  • Medical    (Red)
  • Security    (Black)
  • Media & Photographer  (White)
  • Games Staff    (Navy Blue)
  • Officials    (Lime Green)


Each of the 14 x sports were responsible for arranging their own technical / sport officials (i.e. referees, table judges, umpires).  The majority of officials were based locally in Gibraltar with our GSLA sports development department helping to train new officials.  Some Technical Officials had to be brought in from abroad where the local capability was not present. 


The medical team set up a Games Polyclinic in the University of Gibraltar (nursing simulation suite) located adjacent to the Games Village, providing free medical care and prescriptions to all accredited athletes and team officials.  

Opening hours were from 08:00 to 20:00 each day and was staffed with at least one doctor and nurse and equipped to provide primary medical and orthopaedic care. Acute cases were triaged and referred appropriately. Emergency cases were transported to A+E as per GAS (Gibraltar Ambulance Service) protocols.

A team of Sports Physiotherapists lecturers and Sport Therapy students from UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) and led by Andrew Cunningham, assisted greatly treating musculo-skeletal problems in the polyclinic, in most of the sport venues and also the high-risk events. Their help was very much appreciated and a great asset to the GHA medical team.

Arrangements with local pharmacies were made and there was no charge for prescription services. 


The main decision at the offset was not to use single use water bottles for the games.

This idea then metamorphosed into where possible not to use any plastic products.

NatWest International also decided to change their merchandise as well. They changed the plastic backpacks to cotton, the bang bangs to card and they also provided the athletes water bottles for us.

The Organising Committee had a policy of:

  • Not to use single use water bottles for the games
  • All sports venues to have fountain/water dispensers
  • Each athlete to have a reusable water bottle (preferably aluminium)
  • Water fountain in opening ceremony to be made from recyclable material
  • Engage with whole community to get involved with not using single water bottles
  • Educational programme for schools
  • Recyclable paper in the office
  • Programmes all made from recyclable paper

We also had a catering policy at our venues of:

  • Inform tenderers and local suppliers to ensure that any products delivered, are delivered in such a manner that it eliminates, or minimises, the waste generation of packaging materials;
  • Ensure that any packaging or non-food products are reused, where possible;
  • Ensure that waste is eliminated, or minimised, with regards to the preparation of food. This will include food waste and energy consumption in relation to the preparation of food;
  • Ensure that any waste generated is recycled, where possible;
  • During operating hours, ensure that lights and equipment are switched off when not in use, where possible;
  • Out with operating hours, ensure all equipment and lights will be switched off, where possible;
  • Evaluate products sourced on their price, quality and environmentally friendly merits equally;
  • Source disposable and non-disposable kitchenware and tableware from materials not made from plastic, PLA or PP materials.

CityGuide (Official Gibraltar 2019 Games App)

The Official App for the Gibraltar 2019 NatWest International Island Games was ‘CityGuide Gibraltar’. 

Up to date Games information was available from the App:

  • Sports & Venues
  • Schedules & Results
  • Ceremonies& Cultural Events
  • Games Transport Bus Stops
  • Accommodation
  • Games Sponsors
  • Maps & Navigation
  • Special Offers & Discounts (Affiliates Scheme)

Gibtelecom SIM Card

The Gibtelecom SIM cards were available to be purchased from the Athletes Village Games Office or Gibtelecom Customer Service Centre.


A limited range of Gibraltar 2019 Merchandise was produced and sold from two (2) retail outlets during the Games.



Sponsorship from local companies was a valuable source of income

Initial ideas and informal preparatory work with respect to sponsorship commenced towards the end of 2016, while official contact with potential sponsors and partners started two years prior to the Games. The aim was to attract as much cash and in-kind sponsorship as possible, without imposing either a limit or a formal target. The income would encompass both monetary amounts as well as the provision of products or services with a quantifiable cash-equivalent value.

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony for Gibraltar 2019 saw competitors, officials and volunteers file into the Europa Sports Complex sport by sport.
The Island Games flag was returned by the Chairperson of the Gibraltar Organising Committee Linda Alvarez to International Island Games Association Chairman Jorgen Pettersson, who then passed it to 2021 hosts Guernsey.
The formalities gave way to an energetic night of partying in the stadium.

Gibraltar 2019 Games Infographic