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The squad of athletes and competitors who will fly the flag for the Western Isles in Guernsey this year has been announced today (Monday 27 March) by Western Isles Islands Game Association (WIIGA).

The final selection for the team, sponsored by Bakkafrost Scotland, will see 106 athletes, coaches, managers and medics travelling to Guernsey to compete in nine events between 8 and 14 July.

The NatWest International Island Games brings 24 island teams to the Channel Islands for a games deferred since 2021, when they were originally scheduled.

The games provide an opportunity for island athletes to compete at a high level international event, one of the biggest multi-sports events in this year’s global sporting calendar, with over 5000 participants, officials and media in attendance.

General team manager for WIIGA, Iain GG Campbell, said: “Announcing the team at this stage continues our aim to provide the opportunity for our most talented young athletes to compete at international level, with almost half of the participating athletes under 25.

“The announcement of the squad is always eagerly awaited and I would like to congratulate all those who have been selected.”

“Following the postponement of the Guernsey Games and the disruption to sport due to Covid restrictions, it is exciting to see new talent emerging and we are really looking forward to seeing how they react to the scale of the event and the standard of competition they will encounter.

“We will compete in archery, athletics, badminton, bowls, cycling, football, golf, swimming and shooting. We will be competing in archery and women’s golf for the first time and bowls for the first time since Shetland 2005.

“The standards at the Island Games are incredibly high with many top international athletes competing across the range of sports.

“Overall, these games will allow us to assist the development of our younger athletes, with a sprinkling of more experienced athletes pushing to qualify for finals, and hopefully gain the odd medal here and there!”

Among those selected to compete in new sports are Gary Jordan and Louise Campbell in archery, Jane Nicolson in women’s golf and a four-man team in bowls – James Macleod, Billy Nelson, Mark Macdonald and Peter O’Donnell.

In athletics, 17 athletes are poised under management of Willie Macrury and Eve Maciver and an eight-strong badminton team will be managed by Jay Moran.

Gold medal winner and Scottish record-holder Kara Hanlon is in the Western Isles swimming team – as is her younger brother Matthew, with mum and dad Marilyn and David Hanlon looking after the seven-strong team in the pool.

And record-holder Christina Mackenzie is back from serious injury to not only manage, but to compete as one of a cycling team of six, together with medal-winners Kerry and Kirsty MacPhee.

The hope now is that final preparations go well and that all the selected athletes stay injury-free.

WIIGA chair, Norrie Tomsh Macdonald said: “There is a lot of hard work that goes into getting to this stage, from the athletes vying for selection, club coaches and team managers supporting their athletes and making some hard choices on occasions, and the WIIGA committee dealing with the logistics of getting the squad to Guernsey.

“We are incredibly grateful to all who give their time to provide this amazing opportunity for our talented sports stars.

“The Island Games is a key part of the jigsaw encouraging our communities to be more active and giving confidence to our young people that they can compete at a high level against athletes from around the world – and showcase Western Isles sporting talent.

“A huge congratulations to all the selected athletes, their coaches and families.”

WIIGA also expressed gratitude to main sponsor Bakkafrost Scotland for their continued financial and marketing support and listed financial support given to many island sports teams from local businesses and organisations.

They include MG ALBA, CnES, Mann Judd Gordon, Charles Macleod (Butchers), Lewis Builders, Nessglaze, ACE Electrical, Stena, Hebridean Seaweed, Duncan Mackay and Sons, Car Hire Hebrides and Store 67.

The pictures show Iain GG Campbell and Norrie Tomsh Macdonald, with Ian Laister, managing director of team sponsor Bakkafrost Scotland, and Western Isles cyclists Kirsty and Kerry MacPhee (left and right) flanking swimmer Kara Hanlon as they brought home the hardware from Jersey in 2015 (WIIGA).