The NatWest International Island Games bring together over 2,000 competitors, from 23 of the smallest islands across the globe, to compete in a wide range of sporting events. Started in 1985 on the Isle of Man, with representatives from 15 islands, the games were extremely popular. Dubbed the “Small Islands Mini Olympics”, they agreed to hold the games every two years, with more and more islands competing each year.
Which Are The Islands Involved?
The islands involved span the entire globe, from the Shetland, Faroe and Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland, all the way down to the Falkland Islands at the tip of Argentina. Competitors from the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and St Helena off the coast of Africa represent the Atlantic nations.
From the warm Mediterranean, Gibraltar, Menorca, and Rhodes send their best athletes. From the cold north of Scandinavia, come the best from Saaremaa, Gotland, Hitra, and Froya. Finally, from the windblown British Isles come sportsmen and women from the Western Isles, Faroe Islands, Ynys Mon, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney. Not to mention athletes from the Isle of Man, where it all started.
Motivating Young Athletes
Over the past three decades that the Island Games have been running, enthusiasm for the competition has grown and grown. The games have become not only a fun activity every two years, but also provide young athletes with motivation. On the sometimes isolated islands, the event offers them the incentive to get fit, train hard, and realise their potential by representing their islands internationally.
Bringing Health, Fun, And Pride To Island Communities
The Island Games not only bring together nations that might otherwise never meet from around the globe. Competing in a “mini Olympics”, has also brought other great benefits to the islands involved. While giving the young generations something fun to dream about and compete in, the greater interest in sports has also brought the benefits of healthier lifestyles to the wider island communities. The competitions have also contributed greatly to each nation’s cultural identity.