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The NatWest Island Games XV has Begun!

Sun, 14 Jul 2013

Yesterday the Opening Ceremony of the NatWest Island Games XV took place in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Below is the IIGA Chairman, Mr Jorgen Pettersson's opening speech:

You Excellency, Mr Premier, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends from all over the world.  We have gathered in the beautiful city of Hamilton, Bermuda, to compete against each other in sport. By being here at the NatWest Island Games you are all winners and role models. You are prepared, you are strong, you are full of expectations and you are a little bit nervous for what will come. You are all to be saluted. You have shown everyone that you can achieve whatever you want as long as you are prepared to work hard. That is the very essence of progress not only in sport but in life. 

You are now amongst friends and contenders who are as competitive as you. You are looking at islanders that like yourself have travelled thousands of miles in order to compete.  They are, like you, ready for a week of competition and friendship.

Some of you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You may perhaps not win a medal but as long as you know in your hearts that you have tried as hard as you ever could you are victorious. The athlete that finally wins is not necessarily the strongest or even the most skilful athlete. The winners will always, at the end, be the one who truly believes in themselves. It does not matter whether you win or lose. The only thing that is really meaningful is that you have tried as hard as you can.

The NatWest Island Games takes place for the fifteenth time.  Since the Year of Sport in the Isle of Man in 1985 the International Island Games Association has made a difference in island life.  Within Europe we have travelled from one Host Island to another and this year for the first time in the Games history we have crossed the Atlantic Ocean to visit our friends here in Bermuda. On behalf of the membership I thanks all Bermudians for sharing their homes and hope for an even brighter common future.  Bermuda has worked hard to turn a dream into a reality. The NatWest Island Games will today and in the future be a catalyst for development, fair play, sportsmanship and friendship. We bring islands together.  We are islanders.

Dear friends, enjoy a week of sport. Keep looking for opportunities and friends. Respect your rivals and remember that every time they try to beat you, they are making you stronger. The NatWest Island Games bring islanders together. Now it is up to you to grow and inspire others. You are the very essence of development but more than everything else you are participants in a constant and joyful journey towards the future. Some of you have crossed the ocean, you have trained harder than most people understand, you have continued even when your body has begged you to stop, you have followed your own beacon which has led you to success and brought you over the oceans.  If you can make it here you can make it anywhere! 

Good Luck to you all!