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Sport / Next year’s Island Games postponed

Katie Dinwoodie winning bronze on the track in the 2019 games. Photo: Shetland Island Games Association

THE 2021 Island Games have been postponed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event was due to take place in Guernsey in the summer, but it is not yet clear when it will now be held.

The Island Games take place every two years, with the last event taking place in Gibraltar in 2019.

At that games Shetland finished 14th out of 22 with two golds, a silver and 11 bronze medals.

Acting chair of ShetIand Island Games Association Lesley Hutchison said: “We fully support this decision which must have been a difficult one for the Guernsey 2021 organising committee to come to.

“With so much continuing uncertainty about the future of this pandemic, postponing the 2021 games is the right thing to do.

“For the time being the public health risks are too great, for the people of Guernsey, and for all those who would be taking part from islands far and wide.

“Sport everywhere has been devastated by in recent months and a major multi-sport event like the Island Games was always at risk too.

“We all enjoy the games and the excitement of sports competition and we’re disappointed not to be going to Guernsey next summer.

“We will continue to contribute to discussions on when the games might be held next, and we look forward to the time that we can gather again with old friends and new to celebrate the best of island sport.”

International Island Games Association chair Jorgen Pettersson said on Saturday: “This decision was not made lightly and was based on the responses received from the recent survey undertaken with member islands, coupled with the best medical advice that could be obtained.

“First and foremost, in making the decision was the wellbeing of all the member island’s sports people and the impact that any importation of the virus into Guernsey would have on their island.

“We have waited for even the slightest possible opportunity to go on with the games in 2021, but we have to acknowledge the facts. The pandemic is not over, the quarantine regulations will continue to make planning forward very very difficult and even impossible.

“Therefore, it would not be fair to ask the member islands or the host island to commit financially to an event next summer. This has been a difficult decision to accept for all of us.

“I am truly sorry for this decision, but I also know the determination in our island communities, and I am convinced we will come back in friendly competition under the umbrella of NatWest International Island Games as soon as possible.”

Peterson said the association will “have to continue our forward planning”.

The following Island Games is due to take place in Orkney in 2023.

“The IIGA Executive Committee will discuss the future games with Guernsey and Orkney and our member islands before we make a decision on the dates for the next games.

“There will be many different aspects on this, and we want to make a full analysis including sports, economy, political support and, of course, the continued fight towards the pandemic.

“Whatever happens, our main focus is for all our member islands to stay healthy and well. We would like to stress the importance of the fact that we are not cancelling. We are adjusting the map in order to make it compliant with the current reality.”

Games director Julia Bowditch said “we will all continue to work as hard as we can to put on the best event possible and give Guernsey, Orkney and the other member islands something to look forward to.”

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