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Sport / Postponing Island Games to 2023 the right call, local association says

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

THE DECISION to postpone next year’s Island Games in Guernsey to 2023 is the “safest” option.

That is the message from acting chair of Shetland Island Games Association Lesley Hutchison following news of the event’s postponement on Tuesday evening.

“This difficult decision to reschedule the next games to 2023 reflects some of our own discussions,” she said.

“It’s unfortunate to have a four year gap until we meet again.

“However it’s the safest decision for games participants, supporters and residents in all our island communities.

“The pandemic continues to affect sport globally and we look forward to ‘Guernsey 2023’, where we can celebrate the best of island sport once again with old and new friends.”

As a result of the postponement, the plans for future Island Games will move forward by two years.

This means Orkney will host the event in 2025, Ynys Mon will be the games’ home in 2027 and the Isle of Man will become the preferred host for 2029.

International Island Games Association chair Jorgen Pettersson said: “Although the outcome of the consultation supported 2023, we have tried hard to find solutions in order to do what we are meant to be doing – develop sports within our islands.

“The pandemic has changed our lives and substantially impacted all our member islands, both healthwise and economically.

“Competitors have not been able to prepare in the usual way through training and competition.

“It is fair to say that we all feel disappointment to not be able to meet and compete until 2023. Sports and friendship have created legacies, memories, passion and ambitions in all our member islands.

“We will meet in Guernsey and we will make sure we continue to develop sport in our islands. We will now start work with the organising committees to update the agreements with the funding bodies and sponsors.”

The Island Games usually 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.

Shetland last hosted the Island Games in 2005 and two years ago councillors backed the idea of bidding to host the event again in the future.