WIIGA welcome Gibraltar success

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The Western Isles Island Games Association have warmly welcomed the news that Gibraltar have stepped up to host the 2019 International Island Games following the withdrawal of Menorca.

But they have admitted that while they are disappointed, they are not surprised, at seeing three of the Western Isles ‘core sports’ dropped for the 2019 Games – including cycling which brought the WIIGA camp a massive four gold and two silver medals in Jersey earlier this summer.

Also dropped by Gibraltar is football and golf but WIIGA chairman Norrie Macdonald says the infrastructure of the host island meant such sport changes were inevitable.

He said: “The decision to drop football may be down, in part, to the accommodation/logistical problems the island (2.6 sq miles in area, pop 32,000) will encounter with the visit of 2,500+ athletes.

“In Jersey 27 football teams (500+ players) competed for just six medals (Gold, Silver and Bronze in the men’s and women’s tournaments.

“Contrast this with shooting where almost 180 medals were up for grabs.“Dropping golf is inevitable given there is no course, and road cycling would have proved problematic given the built-up nature of the island.

“Our disappointment at the dropping of cycling, particularly mountain biking, is obviously in no small part due to the success we enjoyed at Jersey this year (and Bermuda 2013) where the fantastic MacPhee sisters Kerry and Kirsty dominated and the medals they won massively contributed to our overall success.

“We will, naturally, discuss these (Gibraltar 2019) proposals at our next committee meeting (29th October).”

Football, golf and cycling will replaced by ten-pin bowling, judo and squash at the event hosted by the British Overseas Territory.

See this week’s Stornoway Gazette to read the rest of the report. On sale now.