Gotland Island Games - Tuesday Round Up

Big smiles from the Western Isles team members and families at the NatWest Island Games being held in Gotland, Sweden this week.
Big smiles from the Western Isles team members and families at the NatWest Island Games being held in Gotland, Sweden this week.

The famous MacPhee engine cranked into overdrive in Gotland once more as the super siblings got on their bikes, donned their superhero cloaks and attached their Terminator level legs which simply steamrolled away the competition.

Just like they did in Jersey two summers ago, gold and silver went to the family house in Kilphedar, South Uist, as the magnificent MacPhee’s delivered a one-two to a highly competitive mountain biking field and delivered the knockout blow of also securing the team gold gong as well.

Watching Kerry and Kirsty at work is a privilege for us here in Gotland but being that good doesn’t come by accident. While we watch in slack-jawed, wide-eyed awe, as they pedal onto the podium here in the Visby sunshine, in the shadow of the magnificent 12th century defence wall, we don’t see the countless hours of training and devotion they put into the sport they love.

As the gals crossed the line and waved to their huge Western Isles support it took all I had not to go all ‘Waynes World’ and give them the infamous ‘We’re not worthy’ greeting.

They are something special and for the second Games in a row they have cleaned up in the mountain bike cross country.

Next is the mountain bike criterium where they also swept up all the medals in Jersey and nobody would be surprised if they wrapped up a double double - as long as Kirsty does a little work on shifting the gremlins from her gears before then.

And as far Kara Hanlon? What can you say about a swimmer who entered three races and didn’t just top the podium in each of them, claiming more gold to hang around neck than Mr T, but she was comfortably first in each and every race.

She added the 200m breast stroke and the 200m individual medley to her stack of honours. This final was something to behold as she slipped to fourth during the backstroke leg of the medley - a stroke she admits is her least favourite - but within the following 50m of the breast stroke she had pulled clear and into the lead. Remarkable stuff and she has been on top of the podium so often this week she will be hearing the Bays of Harris in her sleep.

Kathryn Offer also splashed onto the podium with a PB and bronze gong in the 100m back stroke, as she secured medals, for the second Island Games in a row.

Eve Carrington, the one woman whirlwind of multi-sports and multi-medals, mined another chunk of silver from the Island Games quarry, with a tremendous silver medal in the shot putt.

Her huge throw of 10.99 was her best ever and came with her very first throw of the entire event. Eve now has seven Island Games medals in her collection and with the hurdles to come and always bearing in mind Eve’s steely eyed determination and talent - it could be eight come the week end.

Our male footballers shrugged the horrors of the previous 36-hours out of their recovering limbs with a well needed and much deserved 4-2 win over Froya. Micheil Smith fired them in front but they fell 2-1 behind.

Undettered Angus Macdonald scored twice to edge us 3-2 to the good before Stewart Munro added a fourth to seal the deal. A huge victory and what the boys deserved after such a testing time against illness and matters which were impossible to counter.

Both the men’s and women’s 4x100m relay teams qualifed for the finals with best ever 4x100m Western Isles times, while on the track, there was disappointment for Eilidh Mackenzie, Donnie Macleod and Michael Macmillan.

Donnie lost his grip on the 800m crown he has worn with such pride since Bermuda 2013 in a race in which young Michael ran superbly and was so unlucky not to land bronze. Michael galloped down the home straight hunting down the leaders and dipped only to miss bronze by 0.13 of a second.

It’s only a matter of time until individual silverware is draped around the neck of Michael who is improving all the time and having battled for fitness following a debilatating bout of glandular fever it is remarkable to see him running so well and so quickly.

Eilidh and Peigi McKellar both took on the 1500m with Eilidh, a winner three times and silver medallist last time, missing out on the podium for the first time since 2007. Young Peigi ran well and crossed in 5.18 as she continues her track development.

On the golf course David Black was the toast of his team mates as his 75 sees him placed 12th overall and just four strokes of bronze after one round. Bryan Geddes was the best of the rest of the W.Isles brood with 82.

In badminton Paul Finnegan and Kedar Paul were both in action but both lost at the first hurdle although they gave a good fight in their matches.

Finnegan went down to Carlos Sintes of Menorca but Kedar Paul gave his oppoent, Henry Archer of Gibraltar, a torrid time. Both games went to the wire with Archer edging it 22-20 and 21-17.

Returning to the pool briefly and the Island Games, as it so often does, brings the best out of every competitor. Every single swimmer on the team has set new PB’s in Gotland. Katie Murray, Lucie Doig, Isla Budge and Matthew Hanlon have each risen to the challenges set by the remarkable swimming standard to not just trim their best times but to smash them to smithereens.

Their ever-growing confidence would have been boosted further with a final place with the 50m relay team, but despite being the qucikest in qualifying, the girls were disqualified for going too soon.

Viva Team WIIGA.