The 13th NatWest Island Games officially got underway on Saturday and kicked off with a win for the men's football team.
Team Western Isles arrived in land in time to be shuttled to the Official Opening Ceremony which was held in the Wiklf Holding Arena, in the main town of Mariehamn. Unlike Rhodes in 2007, the team are being accommodated in various locations throughout the island and competition venues are also scattered across the island, making bus journeys a regular routine for competitors and officials alike.
For most athletes Sunday was a day spent acclimatising to the unusually warm temperatures the island is currently seeing. However, for others it was a case of getting underway with competitions immediately. The shooting team, consisting of Donald John MacInnes, Donald John Cameron and Michael Cole took part in the Sporting Team Event and finished in 12th position.
As Team Manager Michael commented:"We are very pleased with the shooting facilities in land and we are looking forward to the week ahead. We are taking part in Skeet and individual competitions throughout the week and are hopeful we can build on today's result. The heat in Rhodes was virtually unbearable and although temperatures are surprisingly warm here, we hope that it won't be a disadvantage to us".
Sunday also saw the Men's Football Team playing their first match of the Games playing against Gotland. Due to injury before departure, Scott MacIver and Murdo 'Gress' MacLennan were replaced by Don 'Lava' MacLeod and Hector MacPhee. The Western Isles team been drawn in Group D against the Falklands, the Isle of Man and the Swedish island of Gotland. David MacMillan scored the opening goal for the Western Isles Squad early in the first half. Gotland equalised in the second half but Team Western Isles managed to secure the three crucial points with a goal from Niall Gibson in the second minute of injury time. They will go on to face the Isle of Man on Monday evening.
Eilidh MacKenzie, the golden girl of the Western Isles team due to her gold medal winning performance in Rhodes, competed in the 1500m heats and easily qualified for the finals with the fastest time of all heat competitors. She will compete in the final on Tuesday evening.
Monday will be a busy day for the Western Isles squad with all teams except the golfers competing. They will play their first round tomorrow (Tuesday).