Left to right: - Catherine Ann Macleod (Women’s Football Team Manager), Ann-Louise Stewart (Women’s Football), Iain GG Campbell (General Team Manager), Alan Brown (SSC), Hamish Budge (Athletics Coach), Eric Macleod (Men’s Football Team Manager), Norrie MacDonald (WIIGA Chair), Sian Macdonald (Athletics), Isla Budge (Swimming), Matthew Hanlon (Swimming)
The Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) sponsored by The Scottish Salmon Company have finalised selection for the NatWest Island Games in Sweden this summer.
The week-long International event is this year being hosted by Gotland, one of the 24 member islands, between 24th June and 30th June. WIIGA will take a squad of 90 covering 8 sports to the Games, which includes athletes, coaches, management and medical team. The squad will be accompanied by a small number of family members and supporters.
The Games provide an opportunity for island athletes to compete at a high level international event, which will be one of the biggest multi-sports events in this year’s global sporting calendar. The Gotland organisers expect over 3000 to participate, plus many more officials, supporters and media, which would make this the biggest Games to date.
General Team Manager, Iain GG Campbell, said: “With just 75 days to go before the opening ceremony in Gotland preparations are in full flow. The announcement of the squad is always eagerly awaited and I would like to congratulate all those who have been selected.”
“This is an exciting moment for the selected team members, they all thoroughly deserve their chance to compete in Gotland. It’s another young squad with half of them aged 21 or under, which is great to see and very encouraging for the future.
“Our Team Managers have had some difficult decisions to make and, as always, there will be some who have been left disappointed. The managers have worked hard to ensure that all those who qualify to compete have had the opportunity to be considered.”
“The hope now is that everyone’s final preparations go well and that they all stay injury free. We are really looking forward to seeing this group represent our Islands in Gotland.”
Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone as WIIGA prepares to compete at this summer’s games.
“With sites throughout the Western Isles we are proud to support the local communities where the athletes live and work alongside our staff.
“We wish all athletes and their teams the best of luck with their training and we will be following their progress as the event approaches in June in Gotland.”
As well as the tremendous support WIIGA receives from main sponsor, The Scottish Salmon Company, many of our sports teams have received financial support from local businesses and organisations and our sincere thanks are due to them. To date the following have given support: - Charles Macleod (Butcher); Harris Tweed Hebrides; Engebret Ltd; Ishga; Point & Sandwick Trust; MG ALBA; Engebret Ltd; Lewis Builders; Baltic Book Shop; Uig Lodge; Big Husky Lodge; Maciver Consultancy Services Ltd; John Roe; Aces; Yesss Electrical; Schneider Electric.
The NatWest Island Games will be held in Gotland from 24th – 30th June 2017, and this will be the 7th Games that WIIGA have competed at since joining the IIGA in 2003.
Squad breakdown –
· 75 athletes; 15 team managers/coaches (5 team managers are also registered to compete); 3 medical team; 2 WIIGA management.
· 34 females; 41 males.
· 17 debutants.
· 12 school pupils.
Some points of interest –
· Athletics – School pupils Sian Macdonald (Nicolson Institute) and DJ Macmillan (Liniclate) earn selection and are rewarded for the impressive progress they have both shown as juniors. Veterans of the Games, Eilidh Mackenzie, Eve Carrington and Donnie Macleod will all compete.
· Swimming – Kara Hanlon’s attendance at the Games will be cut short so that she can attend the Scottish Championships in Aberdeen, which doubles as one of the qualifiers for next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Kara will be joined in the swimming team by her younger brother Matthew. Kathryn Offer will be competing at her 6th Games and looking to add to the medals she won in Jersey.
· Cycling - Kerry Macphee will be defending her 2 MTB titles – XCountry and Criterium. She will be teaming up again with her sister Kirsty who will also be competing on the road for the first time. Newcomer Stuart Ashley from Scalpay also joins the road team.
· Triathlon – After missing out on the Jersey Games in 2015 through injury, Cycling/Triathlon Team Manager Christina Mackenzie will compete in the women’s triathlon, and also in the cycling road events.
· Golf - Two debutants: Neil Rowlands and Donald J Macleod (both Stornoway Golf Club).
· Badminton - Kedar Paul joins Team Manager Paul Finnegan in the Badminton competition as WIIGA continue to support the revival of competitive badminton in the Western Isles.
· Men’s Football - the squad has an average age of 22 but includes many who have competed previously. 13 of the squad have previous experience of the Games. The squad has worked hard on fitness and tactical appreciation over the winter. Their group includes the hosts, Gotland.
· Women’s Football - the squad has 2 debutants in Nicolson Institute pupils Shana Macphail and Mary Macleod. Includes 15 players with previous experience. 9 of the squad have been playing regular competitive football at college/university over the winter. Beth Macleod reached the British Universities finals with Edinburgh University. Christine Macquarrie returns to the squad for the first time since Rhodes 2007. They again have one of the favourites, Isle of Man, in their group who they came so close to beating in the group stages at the Jersey Games.
· Shooting – Donald Walker hopes to improve on his bronze medal in the ABT at Jersey 2015.