Island Games

Island Games
Genre Multi-sports event
Frequency Biennial
Location(s) Various
Inaugurated 1985 (1985)
Most recent 2017 Island Games
Next event 2019 Island Games
Participants ~ 3,000
Organised by IIGA
Sponsor NatWest
Website 2017 Island Games

The Island Games (currently known as the NatWest Island Games for sponsorship reasons) are an international multi-sports event organised by the International Island Games Association (IIGA). Competitor teams each represent different island communities (with one team from the peninsula of Gibraltar) which are IIGA members. Currently all competitor teams represent non-sovereign territories of European nations - some within European waters and some further overseas.

The most recent games were the 2017 Island Games held in Gotland, with 2,333 competitors from 23 competing islands or island groups competing in 14 sports. The 2019 Island Games will take place in Gibraltar.

History

The Island Games began in 1985 as the Inter-Island Games, as part of the Isle of Man International Year of Sport, and were intended to be a one-off sporting celebration only. Geoffrey Corlett, who became the first Games Director, not only contacted the islands surrounding the United Kingdom, but also encouraged the countries of Iceland and Malta, the territories of Faroe Islands, Greenland, Saint Helena, the Channel Islands and others to participate.

Initially, fifteen islands with 600 competitors and officials took part in seven sports,[1] with the total cost of staging the Games being put at £70,000. The track and field events were held on an eight-lane grass track, a far cry from the current games, which now use synthetic tracks in stadiums capable of holding thousands of spectators. The Games of 1985 were so successful that organisers decided to hold a similar event two years later.[2] The games have grown from strength to strength with limits now in place over the number of teams, currently 24 and the number of sports at each games, currently 14. Sark could be considered the most successful island, their population of 600 having acquired 20 medals by 2015, one for every 30 people.

NatWest has been the main sponsor of the games since 1999. In April 2018, they signed a deal extending their sponsorship until at least 2021.

Game venues

Year Games Host Island Participating
Islands
Athletes Sports
1985 I  Isle of Man 15 700 7
1987 II  Guernsey 18 1,049 9
1989 III  Faroe Islands 15 800 11
1991 IV  Åland 17 1,500 13
1993 V  Isle of Wight 19 1,448 14
1995 VI  Gibraltar 18 1,214 13
1997 VII  Jersey 20 ~2,000 13
1999 VIII  Gotland 22 1,858 14
2001 IX  Isle of Man 22 2,020 15
2003 X  Guernsey 23 2,129 15
2005 XI  Shetland 24 1,658 14
2007 XII  Rhodes[3] 25 2,343 14
2009 XIII  Åland 24 2,286 14
2011 XIV  Isle of Wight 24 2,311 14
2013 XV  Bermuda 22 1,296 14
2015 XVI  Jersey 24 2,430 14
2017 XVII  Gotland 23 2,333 14[4]
2019 XVIII  Gibraltar[5][6][7] ~2,000 14[8]
2021 XIX  Guernsey[9] ~3,000 14
2023 XX  Orkney[10] 13

Guernsey put in a bid for the 2021 games following the Faroe Islands' withdrawal from hosting.[11] The bid was approved in July 2016.

Orkney will host the 2023 Games. They were awarded the right to host on 7 July 2018 at the AGM in Gibraltar.

Ynys Môn are contemplating a bid for the 2025 games,[12] the bid being mentioned by the MP for Ynys Môn in the House of Commons.[13] So are the Isle of Man.[14]

In May 2018, the Parliament of the Faroe Islands guaranteed €1,500,000 towards hosting the Games in or before 2029.[15]

In August 2018 it was reported that the Falkland Islands are considering hosting the Games in 2033, and “the Island Games Executive is planning to visit the Falklands in 2020 for their Spring Meeting” to discuss the proposition.[16]

Participation

A total of twenty-seven islands or island groups have participated in the Island Games; eleven of these have participated in every Island Games.

Island Games participants and total medals won
Island Country Population Years Gold Silver Bronze Total
 Åland Finnish autonomous province 28,666 1985– 157172155484
 Alderney Part of a British crown dependency 1,900 1987, 1993– 0235
 Bermuda British overseas territory 64,200 2003– 888099267
 Cayman Islands British overseas territory 56,700 1999– 997365237
 Falkland Islands British overseas territory 2,900 1993– 171119
 Faroe Islands Autonomous country of the
Kingdom of Denmark
49,700 1985– 243187194624
 Frøya Norwegian municipality island 4,300 1985– 1124
 Gibraltar British overseas territory 30,000 1987– 535888199
 Gotland Swedish county 57,200 1985– 243187194624
 Greenland Autonomous country
within the Kingdom of Denmark
56,000 1989– 17212763
 Guernsey Part of a British crown dependency 65,800 1985– 3823924291,203
 Hitra Norwegian municipality island 4,250 1985–1989, 1997– 35513
 Isle of Man British crown dependency 84,500 1985– 4133964071,216
 Isle of Wight English county 138,400 1985– 167166197530
 Jersey British crown dependency 100,000 1985– 4914914441,426
Menorca Spanish island 94,400 2007– 363446116
 Orkney Islands Scottish council area 21,300 1985– 20374198
 Rhodes Greek island - a separate municipality 115,500 1999–2011, 2015 514443138
 Saaremaa Estonian island - county 31,000 1991– 778677238
 Saint Helena British overseas territory 4,250 1985–1987, 1997– 1236
 Sark Part of a British crown dependency 600 1987–2011, 2015– 39820
 Shetland Islands Scottish council area 23,200 1985– 486893209
 Western Isles
Na h-Eileanan an Iar
Scottish council area 27,400 2005– 17132249
Ynys Môn Welsh council area 69,700 1985– 273346106
 Iceland  Iceland 329,000 1985–1997 504541136
 Malta  Malta 445,000 1985–1987 62210
 Prince Edward Island Province of Canada 140,000 1991–2007 66921

Islands marked in grey are no longer members of the IIGA and so cannot compete at the Island Games.

Of the 24 current IIGA members, two (Bermuda and the Cayman Islands) have competed in their own right at the Olympic Games. Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Jersey have each sent teams to the Commonwealth Games.

Sports

The host country chooses between 12 and 14 different sports for their games from this list:

Sport I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI Total XVII XVIII
Archery 14
Athletics 16
Badminton 15
Basketball 8
Bowls (Indoor‡,
Outdoor, or Ten Pin*)
*3*
Cycling 15
Football 15
Golf 12
Gymnastics 10
Judo 6
Sailing (may include
Sailboarding*)
**********12
Shooting 16
Squash 3
Swimming 16
Table Tennis 14
Tennis 12
Triathlon 5
Volleyball (may include
Beach Volleyball*)
***16**
Total sports 7911131413131415151414141414141414

Notably, the Island Games' football tournament is one of the most well-established tournaments of non-FIFA international football.

Olympic athletes

Islanders who have gone on to participate in Olympic Games events include:

Footnotes

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