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Game On in the Isle of Wight

Sun, 26 Jun 2011

In a wonderful sunset of Ryde the NatWest Island Games XIV was officially opened last night by Lord Sebastian Coe, previous multi-gold medalist and current Chairman of the London Olympics. 

Below is my opening address.

Jorgen Pettersson

IIGA Chairman

Welcome to the NatWest Island Games in the Isle of Wight! By being here you are part of a success-story that started in 1985 in the Isle of Man and ever since has moved from island to island. On behalf of the International Island Games Association I want to thank you for being here tonight.  It has not been easy for any of you to get here. The world is still struggling after the financial crisis a few years back.  But you are also aware that in times of crisis challanges and success stories are more important than ever. We all need inspiration and leadership. And success for sure will come to anyone who tries hard enough. When times are rough your efforts need to become stronger.

You are all islanders, used to island life. As islanders you know that in order to achieve something you have to do it yourself, or at least together with teammates will to try as hard as yourself. Without these efforts you will not get where you want.  You are aware that the only way to make a difference is to try harder and act smarter. For this you need opponents. You will discover that your toughest competitor will become a good friend.  When they try to beat you, you have to try harder and the other way round.  The more you develop your skills the better your opponent will become that is why role models are essential for sport - for island - for the entire life. Together we all do things we individually could only dream about.  You may win or you may lose but you will grow.

People of the Isle of Wight have been a true role model for the rest of us.  They have opened the most prescious thing they all have for all of us  - their homes. They have invited us all to a great party that will leave legacies here, there and everywhere. Records will be broken and friendships will start. The Isle of Wight has shown us the importance of trying once, twice and more.  Finally you will win.

Make sure to use this week of friendship and competition from which you can build the rest of your life. Make friendships that will last.  Try harder in order to win. go home and tell your friends that it is a challenging world out there. But that it is fair and friendly and that now you understand a little bit more of it.

The NatWest Island Games brings islands together in friendship and in sport.Take that inspiration with you and use it on your own island. By standing here tonight you have already proved that you have what it takes to be a winner.  Even more important is when you have proved what it takes to become a friend!

Enjoy this week. Take the opportunity to learn from the ones you do not know yet.  They are exactly like you - but different.  Together we can achieve whatever we want.

I hereby, on behalf of the International Island Games Association, invite the former British Olympic Gold Medalist Lord Sebastian Coe to officially open the NatWest Island Games XIV in the Isle of Wight.