Athletes’ road to Jersey begins - in Aviemore

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A pool of 32 of the Western Isles’ premier athletes, and a selection of the most promising, are heading for Aviemore at the end of the month.

They are heading for the Highlands for a training camp with the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA).

Activity for the Natwest Island Games is now beginning to whir into action with next summer’s Jersey Games a little over eight months away.

Now 32 athletes, the group made up of previous Island Games competitors, potentials for 2015 and others on the fringes of the squad, are heading for Badaguish, Aviemore, for a training and information camp as the preparations, training schedules and selection process hots up.

WIIGA management have submitted applications for eight different sports in Jersey where it is hoped that there will be Hebridean entrants in the mens football; the womens football; athletics; golf; shooting; triathlon; swimming; and cycling.

All Team Managers are working on selection and preparation of their squads but the Aviemore camp has been put together specifically for cycling, triathlon and athletics.

WIIGA General Team Manager Iain Campbell said: “A range of different disciplines will be catered for in Aviemore including open water swimming for triathletes and track work and endurance runs for athletes, but in addition to training there will be a series of talks on food and nutrition, physiotherapy and we have a guest speaker coming from Stirling University to talk about sports psychology.”

At the last Island Games, in Bermuda last year, the Western Isles squad returned home as heroes and laden with silverware following a magnificent ten medal haul.

Four golds, two silvers and four bronze medals were won by the incredibly talented pool

of just 17 athletes who were flying the flag for the Western Isles on the sun-kissed island.

Ironwoman Kerry Macphee won two golds and two bronzes while Chrisina Mackenzie completed a full set of gongs by winning a gold, a silver and a bronze following a superhuman effort.

Donnie Macleod sprinted to golden glory in the Men’s 800m before galloping down the track to win silver in the 400m.

Eilidh Mackenzie also picked up a hat-trick of medals with a bronze in the Women’s 800m, and a team bronze in the Women’s 4x400m Relay joining her gold medal winning performance in the Women’s 1500m.

Picking up medals alongside Eilidh in the Relay were Eve Carrington, Kelly Offer and Jenny McTaggart.

Looking ahead to 2015 and our potential WIIGA competitors look in great shape.

Kerry Macphee has since competed at the Commonwealth Games for Scotland, Christina Mackenzie has placed at an international ironman event for Ireland while Kara Hanlon’s increasing prowess in the pool has seen her storm into the Scottish International squad.

There is a long way to go but the blue touch paper has been lit ahead of Jersey 2015 where our athletes will be hoping to spark another gold rush .