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Sport / ‘Real buzz’ in Team Shetland ahead of departure for Island Games

Team Shetland 2023. Photo: SIGA/Ben Mullay Photography

TEAM Shetland is getting its final preparations in before heading south on tonight’s (Wednesday) boat for the 2023 Island Games.

More than 100 people are making the journey to Guernsey, representing ten sports from football and archery to badminton and golf.

The games will take place between 8 and 14 July.

After travelling on the NorthLink ferry to Aberdeen, the team will then fly to Guernsey on a direct flight.

It is not just competitors – there are 15 officials including coaches, a physio and a sports therapist.

The games normally take place every two years but the 2021 event was postponed due to the Covid pandemic, meaning the last one was in 2019.

Team Shetland will again include athletes Seumas Mackay and Katie Dinwoodie, who both won gold medals on the track at the last games in Gibraltar.

Also taking part will be 2019 bronze medal winning swimmers Jasmin Smith, and sisters Annie and Emmie Hutchison.

Swimmers Anne and Emmie Hutchison will be this year’s Water Carriers at the Opening Ceremony in Guernsey and cyclist Carlos Riise will be the Flag Bearer. Photo: SIGA

This year’s team also includes archers, golfers and the men’s football squad – none of whose sports were included in the sports programme in 2019.

“There’s a real buzz across the term as we are about to leave Shetland,” manager Bob Kerr said on Tuesday.

Some of the triathlon team were out this morning swimming in the sea for some last minute practice, he added.

The team manager told Shetland News that there is a mix of youth and experience running through the squad.

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Kerr added that it is always hard to predict where medals may come from but said there is plenty of talent across the team.

He also noted the disruption to the regular two-year Island Games cycle due to the Covid pandemic.

“We don’t know how that will affect the standard of competition,” Kerr said.

One of the 88 Shetland competitors is golfer David Nicol, who said he is looking forward to making his first appearance at an Island Games.

“It’ll be a totally new experience for me, and I’ll try to enjoy every aspect of the trip,” he said.

“It is worth highlighting how well organised the Shetland team is.

“It has clearly taken a lot of hard work to make all the arrangements required to get over a hundred people plus equipment to Guernsey and back again.

“Everyone on Shetland Island Games Association committee – and the representatives from all the different sports – deserve a lot of thanks for their efforts.”

The competitors and officials’ departure south is being preceded by two van loads of equipment, such around bicycles, golf bags, archery gear and football strips.

The total weight of kit comes to around 900kg.

Four volunteer drivers are taking the vans down the road to Poole today on the very south coast of England before catching a ferry to Guernsey.

Kerr said he believes Guernsey will put on a “first class games” having hosted it in 1987 and 2003.

Shetland has only hosted the Island Games once – back in 2005, with the football team famously winning gold on home soil.

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