Western Isles athletes put in maximum effort at the NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar yesterday (Tuesday July 9th), to achieve a raft of firsts for the team across their competitions.

The team are competing in the badminton event for the first time this year, and had something to celebrate when first Beth Macphail, and then the men’s doubles team of Kedar Paul and Davie Fraser notched up first wins for the islands.

In the pool, Kara Hanlon brightened the sunshine for team-mates and supporters, winning two gold medals and a silver within 24 hours. She went gold in the 50m and 200m breaststroke events and got her silver in the 200m individual medley event last night.

Following her lead, the rest of the squad pulled out some amazing results in numerous swimming event finals. Isla Budge was 6th in the 200m freestyle and Mairi Maclennan 6th in the same 200m final where Kara won her gold. Tonight there are more swimming finals, with Isla Budge, Kara Hanlon and Mairi Maclennan all in individual events.

Lone cyclist Kevin Smith was ‘an iron man with an iron will’ according to WIIGA, completing the time trial in 44th position and describing the event afterwards as “the hardest thing I have ever done.” He maintains his iron-willed determination tonight in the men’s individual road race.

On the track both Connor Maclean and Michael Macmillan have qualified for Friday’s 1,500 metre final, after determined and gritty runs in today’s heats. Connor also goes in lane one of the 5,000 metre final at 8pm local time tonight.

Shot putters Eve Carrington and Marion McCorquodale were in last night’s finals, Marion taking fifth spot and Eve eighth in a table of 15 competitors. Eve still has tomorrow night’s 400m hurdles final to contend with, alongside team-mate Gemma Macritchie.

Eilidh Macleod came agonisingly close to a medal placing in last night’s women’s 400m final, placing 4th, less than half a second behind bronze medallist Ffion Roberts from Ynys Môn. Trinity Johnson was impressive in the same position in her games debut, at the women’s 100m hurdles final. Eve, Trinity and Eilidh will join Sian Macdonald, Angela Horne and Mary Macleod in Friday’s 4x100m relay.

Tonight’s Western Isles contests include the men’s long jump, with Donald John Macmillan flying the islands flag, while Heather Marie Mackinnon and Mary Macleod go in the women’s triple jump.

On Friday Mhairi Hall, Marina Murray and Katie Mackinnon will all take a shot at the half marathon distance and the shooting team continue in action through until the end of the games, with the last event seeing Iain ‘Lava’ Macleod and Donald Walker shooting as individuals in the clay shooting OT 100.

Meanwhile team manager Iain GG Campbell and WIIGA chair Norrie Tomsh Macdonald made a formal presentation to their Gibraltar hosts, gifting premium smoked salmon from team sponsors Harris & Lewis Smokehouse to event organisers Regan Lima and Linda Alvarez.

Pictures show: golden girl Kara Hanlon after her medal presentation last night, badminton winners Beth Macphail and doubles team Kedar Paul and Davie Fraser, Trinity Johnson in her games debut, shot put finalists Eve Carrington and Marion McCorquodale and cyclist Kevin Smith, as well as the presentation from the Western Isles squad to their Gibraltar hosts and an enthusiastic and vocal supporting team on the pool sidelines.