The 18th NatWest International Island Games took place in Gibraltar in July 2019. TeamIOW was represented by 112 Competitors with managers and support staff bringing the total squad to 140. We competed in 12 of the available sports.
The opening ceremony was at the new Europa Point sports centre and took place on an uncharacteristically windy and cool evening. The gathering of the 24 Islands and their competitors is always an exciting evening. TeamIOW took their place at the ceremony led by our flag carrier Table Tennis player Danny Burns who was one of two team members who had competed in the 1995 games also held in Gibraltar when he had won Doubles Gold alongside Carl Prean.
Also at the front of the team was our youngest team member Squash Player Amelie Haworth who at 13 was taking part in her first Games. She brought water from the well at Carisbrooke Castle to mix with water from the other Islands during the traditional water ceremony.
Competitions started early on the day following the opening with the Triathlon. The competitors had difficult conditions especially as the day got hotter during the event but several creditable performances were achieved by the team although medals proved beyond them.
In the Shooting events however the games started brilliantly as Imogen and Shelley Moss claimed the first medal for TeamIOW with a Silver in ‘Sports Pistol Team’ and then Matt Reed and Perron Phipps went one better to claim our first Gold in ‘50m Free Pistol Team’. The Moss sisters would add another Gold medal to the total by the end of the day in ‘Standard Pistol Team’.
As the week progressed the Team continued to produce great performances. Not just with medals but with great results & personal bests. There was some outstanding Table Tennis as our players achieved a great 5th place in the team event which is their best result for several games.
Further Shooting Golds were achieved on day 2 by Dom Cowan & Andy Whittall in the 50m Prone Team event. There was also double Gold in the Judo where sisters Emily and Hannah Niven won their respective categories. On the Athletics Track strong winds had caused problems for the competitors but James Foreman overcame the conditions and his opposition to win Gold in the 400m Hurdles. this was followed by Dan Eckersley retaining his 3000m Steeplechase title won in Gotland 2 years ago
Also on Day 2 Swimming managed to get on the medal table as Abi Lacey took Silver in the 400m Individual Medley event achieving the fastest ever time by an IOW woman in the process.
On Day 3 there was a first medal for the Squash team as Amelie Haworth, our youngest competitor, claimed Bronze in the Ladies singles. A great achievement in her first games against much older opposition. She will be one to watch in 4 years time when Squash will be in the 2023 Orkney Games. She was not the only young competitor in the medals as 15 year old Mabel Lewis ran a great race at the athletics track to take Bronze in the 1500m. The future for TeamIOW is looking very bright indeed.
In Shooting, Matt Reed and Perron Phipps achieved their 2nd Gold medals of the games in ‘10m Air Pistol Team’. There was another medal for Abi Lacey in the Swimming Pool with Bronze in the 200m Medley. Also The Judo team claimed another medal as Ben Maher claimed a hard fought Bronze.
Judo lead the medal haul on the 4th day of competition as Dan Blinkhorn picked himself up from the disappointment of missing out on a medal the previous day in his weight division to claim the Open Category Gold medal. Dan Eckersley and Imogen Moss both added to their medal tallies for the week claiming Bronze medals in Athletics and Shooting respectively. Amelie Haworth and Fleur Orchard also claimed a Bronze medal in the Ladies Doubles Squash.
The penultimate day of competition proved a tough one but medals still came to the team in Swimming where Abi Lacey claimed a 3rd individual medal, Megan King swam an outstanding PB to claim Bronze in the 50m Backstroke and then the Ladies 4x50m Medley Relay squad delivered an outstanding medal to put the seal on a great week of swimming. Elsewhere Perron Phipps claimed an individual Silver medal in Air Pistol and Bridget Fryer won Bronze in Ladies Discus, Athletics.
The Final day of competition started with the Half Marathon out on the hot and humid roads of Gibraltar. The Ladies had a strong team including Charlie Metcalfe, Laura Brackley and Rosie Sexton. From the start they managed to settle near the front of the pack but as the race developed over a 3 lap course only Charlie was able to remain as part of the front pack with Laura a short distance behind. As the runners approached the stadium Charlie pulled clear of her rivals and managed to build up a 100m lead as she entered the track to huge cheers from her supporting fellow islanders, one final lap of the track brought her home to a Gold medal. The drama was not quite over as Laura chased home the other medal winners and finished in a hugely creditable 4th position. Rosie finished in 13th and the Ladies were able to claim the team Silver medal.
Later in the day the final Gold medal for TeamIOW was achieved by Richard Clifton in IPSC shooting. He also won Team Bronze alongside Andy Whittall. The final day also saw the final stages of the Table Tennis competition as George Downing managed to claim 3 medals; Bronze in the Singles, Bronze with Opening Ceremony Flag Carrier Danny Burns and a great Silver alongside Temeesha Hobbs in the Mixed Doubles..
The final tally of 34 total medals (11 Gold, 8 Silver, 15 Bronze) gave TeamIOW 9th place in the medal table. There were 8 more medals won than 2 years previously in Gotland and the Gold medal total was the highest number since 2001 (With the exception of 2011 at home on the IOW).
There were 6 sports who achieved medals at the games; Athletics, Judo, Shooting, Squash, Swimming and Table Tennis more than the 4 sports achieving medals in Gotland. All in all a great upward trend in performance for the team and something to really build on for the next games in Guernsey 2021.
This performance would not be possible without the support of our sponsors for which we are extremely grateful, especially main team sponsor ICRTouch who provided the great team uniform for their second games as partner to the Team.
Thanks also to Red Funnel, IW Sports Foundation, Wight Aid, Newport Business Association, Newport Grammar School Trust, Brighstone Old Comrades, Carisbrooke Castle, IW Radio, IW County Press and everyone who donated in any way to enable the team to attend the games.
Once again this year TeamIOW had been able to provide grants from the funds we raised to competitors who had achieved the necessary sporting standards but who were struggling financially to attend the games. In assisting 31 competitors to some degree we managed to have the best possible team at the games. Supported Athletes won 10 of our medals (either as individuals or as part of a pair/team) thus proving that the effort was really worthwhile.
At the conclusion of the games TeamIOW Chair, Martin Goodall, stood down from his role after being involved since the 2011 games. On leaving the role he paid tribute too everyone who had made TeamIOW the current success and wished his successor, Kev Winchcombe all the best for the future, saying;
“I want to reiterate my thanks to everyone who has been involved on the central committee, to all the sports managers who give so much to their sport. Thanks also to the many coaches & club officials across the island who all help get our competitors ready for the games. Thanks to the competitors family and friends who play a vital role in supporting them all year round. Good luck to Kevin and everyone in the build up to Guernsey 2021. But most importantly this is about the competitors, I wish them every possible success”
Full list of medals:
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