The Island Games is a biennial international multi-sports event organised by the International Island Games Association. It provides an opportunity for residents and natives of small islands around the world to compete in a variety of sports. The 2019 event is to be held, for a second time, on the island of Gibraltar – from the 6th to the 12th of July – and KUDOS is delighted to once again be partnering with a host of islands taking part.
Last time in Gotland
The most recent games were held on the stunning island of Gotland in 2017, when around 2500 competitors from 24 competing islands or island groups took part in 14 sports.
The final medals table was topped by the Isle of Man, who accumulated a stunning 101 medals including 39 golds, while the Faroe Islands and Jersey finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Growing from humble origins
The origins of the Island Games were rather humble. It began in 1985, intended as a one-off event as part of the Isle of Man International Year of Sport. The idea was simply to provide an opportunity for athletes from the different islands to compete on an international stage, to realise their dreams, and to forge links and bonds between the different islands. To many associated with it, it has become known as ‘The Friendly Games’.
As well as islands off the shores of the UK – including Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Wight and Isle of Man – others such as Iceland, Malta, the Faroe Islands were invited to take part, and the inaugural ‘one off’ event was such a success that it was held again two years later, this time in Guernsey – and it has never looked back.
It has, however, remained a humble and down-to-earth event, and competitors and teams mostly pay their own way, along with contributions from sponsors where possible. Many teams – athletes, coaches and staff – are forced to undertake epic journeys to reach the sometimes rather remote islands, and this sort of dedication only serves to underline the unique spirit that pervades the Games.
For many of the sportsmen and women taking part, it provides a first taste of international competition – and the standard of competition is reliably high, with a number featured athletes going on to compete at the Commonwealth, World and Olympic Games. The list of notable names to have done so includes Mark Cavendish and Kelly Sotherton.
Cavendish, from the Isle of Man, won three gold medals at the Island Games back in 2003, before going on to win 34 Tour de France stages – second on the all-time list – three world titles and raced at three Olympic Games.
And so to sunny Gibraltar, which plays host to the Island Games for a second time, some 24 years after the first. Due to a lack of venues, this year’s games will not include football or volleyball – both of which have featured at all previous games since 1985. Included in the list of sports instead are tenpin bowling, judo, and squash.
Every Island Games is replete with stories, and one of the standout tales this year revolves around Isle of Wight father and daughter Rob and Amelie Haworth (just 13) who will compete together in the mixed doubles squash event. Rob said:
I take Amelie to a lot of tournaments around Europe and England – so for me to compete with my daughter this time is something very special and I’m very proud. – rob haworth
Beaming daughter Amelie added:
It’s a big thing for both of us and it’ll be great to do the doubles tournament together. It’s like nothing we’ve ever done before! – amelie haworth
KUDOS – Proud to be associated with the Island Games
The Island Games really embodies everything that’s great about sport – competitive, celebratory and friendly, and KUDOS is thrilled to continue its involvement with this terrific international event.
We are honoured to be supplying kit for the Isle of Wight, Jersey, hosts Gibraltar, Isle of Wight, the Falkland Islands and Guernsey – and wish every athlete from all islands the very best of luck. The countdown to the Games starts here – and in the coming weeks we’ll be featuring interviews with a number of the islands with which we’ve partnered. Bring it on!
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