In the first of a series of features on St Helena’s Commonwealth Games team, we introduce the island itself, the difficulties they’ve had arriving at previous Games and how those epic journeys will now be a thing of the past…
2018 Commonwealth Games
This April, on Australia’s glorious sun-drenched Gold Coast, the 2018 Commonwealth Games will take place. Competing alongside the regular big-hitters like England, Canada and Australia will be the usual raft of smaller countries and territories not usually given the opportunity to compete at that elite level.
For those smaller nations, while the ambitions of most of their athletes may be modest, the value of the Commonwealth Games to their athletes is immense – and it is with these athletes and nations that many of the Games’ most romantic stories can be found. One of those is the minuscule British overseas territory of Saint Helena.
St Helena – a tiny island with big character
A volcanic tropical island lying 1931kms from the coast of Angola in the South Atlantic Ocean, Saint Helena measures just 10×5 miles and has a population of around 4500. That tiny population is doubtless a factor in Saint Helenians’ (also known as ‘Saints’) most notable characteristic – they are known for their friendliness, and everyone waves and greets each other in the street, even to passing cars. It’s a far cry from London!
The sheer remoteness of the territory, and total absence of transport links to the rest of the world, has in the past made it unfeasibly difficult for its team of athletes and officials to reach the Commonwealth Games. For the 2014 Games in Glasgow, a party of eight – half a dozen athletes and two officials – set off on a five-day crossing to Cape Town on 11 July before arriving in Scotland fully ten days later.
Epic journeys now a thing of the past
St Helena has always relied on RMS St Helena, a cargo-passenger ship and one of the last remaining Royal Mail ships, for the transportation of people and goods. Since 2016, however, it has boasted its own airport – making access to Queensland substantially and mercifully easier than the epic schleps endured by their predecessors.
2018 promises to be a life-affirming experience for St Helena’s athletes. It first took part in the Commonwealth Games in 1982, after which they were absent for 16 years. They returned in 1998 and have competed, by hook or by crook, in every Games since. In 2014 its six athletes represented the country in swimming, badminton and shooting. This time around, KUDOS is delighted to be supplying the team with its kit – and we’ll be following their progress between now and the end of the Games.
KUDOS PASSIONATELY SUPPORTS TAKING PART IN SPORTING ACTIVITY AT AN LEVEL
KUDOS is proud to support and encourage people from all backgrounds to take part in sporting activity, from grassroots to the top. We recognise that sport is a powerful force for good.
KUDOS SPORTS – A LEADING SUPPLIER OF CUSTOM SPORTS KIT
KUDOS proudly supplies custom kit to a variety of sports clubs and teams across the globe – custom teamwear that is built for performance and worn with pride.