The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) have unveiled the athletes and sportspeople who will be flying the flag for the isles in international sporting combat this summer at the NatWest International Island Games in Gibraltar.
The squad, once again gratefully backed and supported by The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC), was revealed this week at a an SSC celebratory Breakfast for Champions for the WIIGA athletes at the Harris & Lewis Smokehouse in Stornoway, which was prepared by Phil Sim, Head Chef, alongside SSC Food Ambassador and Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean.
General Team Manager, Iain GG Campbell, said, “We are delighted to be able to announce the team at this stage. Continuing our aim to provide the opportunity for our most talented young athletes to compete at international level almost two thirds of the participants are under 25. The announcement of the squad is always eagerly awaited, and I would like to congratulate all those who have been selected.
“These will be a smaller Games for us with no football, golf or mountain biking this time round. We will compete in five sports, Athletics, Swimming, Shooting, Cycling and for the first time a full Badminton team, reflecting the work done over recent years to revive Badminton as a competitive sport on the islands.
“We continue to back young talent where appropriate and I am particularly pleased for Sophie Smith, Mairi Maclennan (both swimming) and Beth Macphail (Badminton) on making the team. They will hopefully follow in the footsteps of Kara Hanlon, who similarly competed aged 14 in the Isle of Wight in 2013 and has gone on to become a multi-medalist and very nearly a Commonwealth Games athlete - her time will come!
“The standards at the Island Games are incredibly high with many top international athletes competing across the range of sports. Overall these Games will allow us to assist the development of a number of our younger athletes, with a sprinkling of more experienced athletes pushing to qualify for finals, and hopefully gain the odd medal here and there!
“The hope now is that everyone’s final preparations go well and that they all stay injury free. We are really looking forward to seeing this group represent our Islands in Gibraltar.”
Craig Anderson, Chief Executive of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We are very proud to sponsor the Western Isles Island Games Association for a fifth year as the team prepare to compete at this summer’s games in Gibraltar. With sites throughout the Western Isles we are passionate about promoting health and wellbeing and supporting the local communities where we live and work.
“This team announcement is a significant milestone and I’m delighted WIIGA are marking the occasion at our new Harris & Lewis Smokehouse. We wish all of the WIIGA athletes and their teams the best of luck with their training and at the Games in July.”
As well as the tremendous support WIIGA receives from main sponsor, The Scottish Salmon Company, many WIIGA sports teams have received financial support from local businesses and organisations and our sincere thanks are due to them. To date the following have given support: - MG ALBA; PST; Harris Tweed Hebrides; MacAulay Askernish; CnES; Mann Judd Gordon
See next week’s Gazette fo r a full squad list and full squad previews for each sport will follow in the Gazette over the coming months.