Shetland Athletes Win 16 Medals In Bermuda Island Games

by Alastair Hamilton -

Forty-five Shetland athletes and officials brought back 16 medals from the Natwest Island Games 2013, held in Bermuda

For 2013, Team Shetland focused on eight sports: athletics, cycling, golf, sailing, clay shooting, squash, swimming and triathlon. Half-marathon runner Karl Simpson, flag bearer at the opening ceremony, has taken part in no fewer than five Island Games.

One of the features of the opening event is a water ceremony; each competing team brings water from their island to be poured into a specially designed fountain that flows for the Games week. Shetland's water carrier, swimmer Andrea Strachan, went on to win two gold and three silver medals during the competitions. Fellow team member Felix Gifford also won five medals - two golds, two silvers and a bronze - in the pool. Shetland's exceptional swimming facilities no doubt contributed to their success: as well as a large pool in Lerwick, there are another seven modern pools around the islands.

Emma Leask also had a very successful outing: she won gold in the women's 800m, setting a new games record, and collected a silver medal in the 400m event. Shortly after returning from Bermuda, she was asked to run for Scotland at an event in Cardiff.

The International Island Games were founded in the Isle of Man in 1985 and today include 24 member islands in, or associated with, the nine sovereign nations of Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK, plus the Caribbean. Twenty two island teams competed at the Games from as far afield as the Falkland Islands, Greenland, Faroe and Menorca, as well as several teams from British and Scandinavian islands. Shetland hosted the games in 2005.

Chairman of Shetland Island Games Association, Andrew Inkster, noted that it had taken “a lot of work and planning over the last few months to plan for this year's Games” and thanked everyone involved, including volunteers in the Association and local people and businesses who have supported fundraising efforts. The six-day games began on 13 July; results can be found on the games" website. Shetland finished in 9th position in the medals table, with the islands in the first eight places all having larger populations.

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