Utmost Blog: Gibraltar 2019

Friday 12th July 2019

The final day. For some it was a free day, for others everything came down to this. For those of us working to support the team it meant meetings and making all the final arrangements for getting the team to the Closing Ceremony and then for getting them home tomorrow too.

We made it to Clay to have a look at their facilities and see Darren and Alex in their final event. What an amazing setting they’re shooting at. The facility was ready just a few days before the Games started apparently, and the technology was incredible. As they prepare to take their turn to shoot they speak into a speaker beside them and it triggers the clay, there was a huge scoreboard to help you keep track of what’s happening, it even works out reaction times of the shooters. It was very clever and actually very spectator friendly with any questions answered by the guys shooting there. So long as they weren’t actually competing, that is. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for Darren and Alex and they didn’t make the final six going for the medals.

Kath and Brian were watching the badminton where Guernsey had made a number of the finals and they certainly dominated the mixed doubles, getting all three of the medals. It makes it a little tough to support an all Guernsey final but it’s a good position to be in. Squash took the bronze in their team event at the same venue. Thanks to the power of technology we were able to keep up with the men’s basketball bronze medal play-off before we actually made it there in person. Sadly, it was heartbreak again for them, missing out on the bronze and finishing 4th overall. But, with the power of the full Green Army behind them in 2021 who knows how it will end. They certainly have the dedication and commitment to their sport.

In the table tennis there were a number of medals and we made it in time for the finale, the men’s singles with Garry Dodd up against a guy from Greenland. A great game to watch as one of the last events of the Games despite Garry not getting the gold he wanted.

Various sports were in action up to the very last minute with some of our final medals coming from the relays in the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m. With their late finishes, Athletics and Tennis only made it back to the hotel just before the Closing Ceremony started. The sport is certainly always crammed in to every moment of the week.

We were taken by bus to Europa Point for the Closing Ceremony. On the last of our buses two of our athletes realised they’d forgotten their accreditation and jumped off to get it, for fear of not being able to join the party. There were no buses going back past our hotel. With a bit of sweet talking to the Transport Manager, and the elusive 2021 pin he was looking for, we managed to get a car to go back for them. To sweeten the deal for the driver we gave him all the leftover goods we had to give away at the ceremony. He went away with several pin badges, an official Team Guernsey sun hat, an Utmost fan and a 2021 shopping bag.  A good haul. I think he might have done it with out all the goodies as he dragged our guys off to help a lady who was almost going to miss her flight. Thankfully, they made it in the end.

The Closing Ceremony was quite short, which is what all the athletes want as they’re ready to let their hair down. GIGA chose the Cycling Team Manager Gary Wallbridge to carry the flag for the ceremony. It’s Gary’s last games with the team as he’s stepping down to help with hosting the cycling in Guernsey in two year’s time. Gary has been involved with the Island Games for a long, long time through both cycling and gymnastics and we really feel he epitomises the spirit and ethos of the Games as well as Team Guernsey.

The Island Games flag was officially handed over to the safe keeping of Dame Mary Perkins ready to fly again at the games in Guernsey in two years. And that was it, all over once again and the party could begin. I’m not going to get into the details of what happened there, it’s safe to say a good time was had by all.

So, to the thank yous. Thank you to our sponsors Utmost because without them we wouldn’t be able to do it. Thank you to Gibraltar, who stepped in quite late in the day to ensure 2019 didn’t go without a Natwest International Island Games. Thank you to the supporters who travelled with us and to those supporting us from home in Guernsey. Thank you to our medical team for keeping everyone going. I might’ve forgotten someone but it’s been a long week so please forgive me. Saving the best for last, the biggest thank you to our athletes, to Team Guernsey. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to see all of you competing throughout this week. We are proud of you and our island and seeing everyone doing their Utmost (sorry had to get it in one last time!) makes us so happy to do what we do. While the medals boards looked pretty and we finished fourth in the table, it’s not all about that for us. It’s seeing the hard work pay off, it’s supporting you no matter where you finish, it’s about being Team Guernsey. The Island Games is such a special event and to be part of it is hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. See you all in Guernsey and we’ll do it all again. Green Army!

Celebrating their bronze in the team event

Our medal boards in the hotel all up to date at the end of the Games

Gary Wallbridge enjoying his role at the Closing CeremonyThursday 11th July 2019It was the last day of Judo for our lot and it was the team event at Devil’s Tower camp. I still don’t understand the rules and thought I was starting to get it and then we learned about the team tactics they can use and the confusing world of the repechage. It’s a really good atmosphere there, although what we saw from Guernsey was pretty short and sweet because they were a team of 3 against teams of 4 or 5. Unfortunately it didn’t end with a medal for the guys but it’s been great to see them doing so well, especially as they’re not with us at very many Island games.
Meanwhile Jon and the Bailiff were bobbing around on a boat watching our sailors in their last races of the competition. It’s been a good windy week for them. Andy Bridgman was telling me that with all the concrete around the island and the depth of the sea here, it’s created some rather odd waves to get to grips with. But they clearly coped well with it with gold for Clem Thompson, a silver for Andy and a team silver too.

Whilst the Bailiff and Jon had a close up view of what was going on out on the water, some of the rest of us went to the rifle range to have a look at what was happening there. We conveniently discovered we could watch a bit of the sailing from there too. Bucky and I aren’t known to be quiet and it turns out a chorus of green army travels well across the water. 

The rifle range is incredible. It’s only 3 weeks old. You can still smell the paint. It’s in a building! That seems an alien concept to me. The 50 metre range is on the third floor and the 10 metre on the floor above. We’d timed our visit well to watch Paul Guillou in the 10 metre air rifle final. The surprises continued because this is not a silent supporter sport. We even got our whackers out! It was incredibly tense and great to have someone there explaining for us newbies what was happening as it went on. You could see each shot hitting the target on TV screens so it was quite easy to keep track of everything and great to be there as Paul won the bronze medal.

We took a few minutes off for ourselves to visit the merchandise shop and get some bits for our families back home but we were disappointed there weren’t any hoodies left. The cold weather last Saturday saw most of them disappear apparently. Note to 2021 get lots of hoodies!

As we were in the vicinity we checked in on the men’s basketball briefly to see how they were doing against Cayman. Despite their best efforts to the last it was a loss and they go into the bronze medal play off against the hosts Gibraltar tomorrow. I’m not sure my nerves will be able to take it but I’m sure the Green Army will be out in force. 

At the Athletics at the Lathbury complex there was plenty to get excited about including a gold medal for Joe Chadwick in the 100m. Meanwhile our cyclists were slogging it out in the road race with the ladies winning themselves team bronze. The men’s race was close to the end. The crowd and the man on the microphone were loving Mike Serafin who after doing his job for the team early on spent the rest of the race on his own.It all came down to a sprint towards the line. Unfortunately the road was narrow and there were barriers in the middle of it. I’m still not sure exactly how it happened despite seeing it before my eyes but one of the riders crashed into the barriers in the push for the line and Jack English went down too. Sam Culverwell had a mechanical problem on the last lap and he went down just after he crossed the line. It was a really disappointing end to what had been a great race. Fortunately Jack and Sam are fine, if a bit battered, after being checked over by the medics. We’ve been learning all sorts through our stay here, in part thanks to our attaches Pete and Jill who’ve been telling us all the details about living life in Gib. For instance, they have a desalination plant here that deals with all their water needs. If you’ve seen the Europa “waterfall” by the beach volleyball then you now know what that’s from. I doubt you’ve wondered, but they use salt water for flushing their toilets here too. You’ve maybe not given much thought to how we keep ourselves smelling sweet. Pete and Jill have gone above and beyond this week for us, even doing some of our laundry. Basketball meanwhile have sorted out their own washing, thankfully. They’ve taken over a section of the poolside at their hotel to deal with that. Don’t worry they’ve not been using the pool. Enjoy the photo below to see how they did it. But don’t ask to see any of their other photos.A special mention today for Diane who is one of our biggest supporters. Diane travels from her home in England to every games to support Team Guernsey. We are so grateful for her support and dedication to the team. Thanks Diane!

The Judo team in their team event, with an Isle of Wight opponent in the background.

Andy Bridgman in action on the water

Paul Guillou winning bronze in the 10m Air Rifle

Another great night at the track for Guernsey

A couple of pics from the men’s road race

This is how basketball do their laundry, in case you were wondering.

Diane, one of Team Guernsey’s most fervent supporters

Wednesday 10th July 2019

Day four of competition at the Natwest International Island Games and after the admin and team management work was out the way, a few of us popped over to the badminton and squash to see how everyone was getting on.

In the squash, Guernsey were in the mixed and women’s doubles semi finals. It was great to see Karen Robinson winning her first medal of the games with Nat Dodd. It was a silver for the ladies, and also a silver in the mixed doubles for Nat and Laurence. The team have bettered their medal count since the last time they were involved in the games in Bermuda. Karen told us she came here just wanting to win a game and she’s done more than that and goes home with a medal!

From the Europa Complex it was down to the Basketball at Bayside. Guernsey were in action on both courts at the same time so they needed lots of noise. There was good support there from family and friends and teammates. The ladies were in control against Jersey, winning that 52-14. It was a much closer game for the men against Menorca making for an incredible atmosphere for us spectators and once the ladies were finished and joined in making some noise it got even better. Guernsey won 92-78 and make the semi finals against Cayman.

Brian and Kath stopped by the swimming heats to see our team compete. The evening sessions are jam packed so it’s been tough to get in and for a shorty like me it’s impossible to see anything. The atmosphere at the pool is always great so it’s such a popular one for the spectators.

As we went to grab a bite to eat we bumped into Rick Denton who told us Pieter Robinson was playing at the Bayside tennis courts next door. We put lunch on hold and headed over to watch him win his match. After that, our day of supporting was cut a little shorter by a couple of important events.

The first was the tree planting ceremony. It happens at every Island Games. It’s a symbolic gesture to reflect the growth and development of the Games. IIGA Chairman, Jorgen Pettersson did the honours and buried a time capsule at the same time as planting the Silk Floss tree in the Alameda Gardens. It’s been planted in front of the tree from the last games held here in 1995.

The second event of the day for us was the Guernsey 2021 presentation. At each games the next host island gives a presentation to the team management from all the other islands. It’s a chance for them to pick up information from the various sports, start thinking about travel and accommodation and make some contacts. Guernsey 2021 hosted a very successful evening at the Yacht Club and although we’re still in the midst of these games I’m already excited about what we’re going to do at home in 2 years time.

Nat and Karen after winning their silver medal

Celebrations after making it to the semi finals

Pieter in action at Bayside

Some photos of swimming thanks to the Guernsey Press

Official tree planting ceremony

Guernsey 2021 presentation. Only 723 days to go!

Tuesday 9th July 2019

We attempt to spend the majority of our days out supporting all our various sports but it’s not always quite that simple. There are lots of jobs to do behind the scenes to keep everything running as smoothly as possible and what you might find a surprising number of meetings. These can been technical meetings, management meetings and we also have the AGM every year too. That took place this morning. All these meetings can take an hour to several hours. 

For us it sometimes means a later start to the day. Plus there are lots of little bits and pieces we need to sort for each of our sports each day. That is what we’re here to do after all. This time round because we are split across a couple of hotels and the athletes village it makes life a little more complicated and it’s a real shame that we can’t have the whole team together.

It’s good to catch up with some of the team over breakfast and hear about their plans for the day. At the hotel we’re staying in you can have breakfast outside as the sun rises. It’s a real treat and a lovely way to start the day, so long as you don’t leave your croissant unattended. The gulls don’t hang around when there’s tasty treats around smashing some of the crockery on the way, despite the best attempts of the squash team to protect another guest’s breakfast. If they’d had their racquets to hand it might have been a different story. 

The other bonus to being by the sea is some of our athletes have been using the sea as their recovery ice bath in effect. I’ve not had a chance to dip a toe in but I’m told it’s refreshing!

One of our first visits of the day was to the team final of the Table Tennis. Guernsey were up against Jersey as so often happens in so many of our events. We made it in part way through the match and things were pretty even. On arrival our instructions from the Guernsey coach was to make some noise. If you want noise then Bucky and I are your girls. We took the instructions to heart after double checking on the etiquette of when was appropriate. We made so much noise we broke our cardboard noise making thingymajigs or as I like to call them, whackers. We turned our hands purple and Bucky has now injured her finger. It’s just a blister though so no need for medical intervention or cotton buds yet. 

It was a great match to watch, and we were delighted to see Guernsey win. This is the fourth games in a row that they’ve won gold in the team event.

From there we ventured to the Sandpits tennis club and caught Jo Dyer in action against a strong 14 year old opponent. The sun was beating down and it was hot even as spectators. The rest of the tennis team were working on some chants with Lauren Barker leading the way. Bucky was impressed and has nicked one of theirs to be adapted for the Green Army. Jo went on to win her match and set up a tough encounter against the top seed who hasn’t lost a game at all, so far.

At the squash there were medals for Janick Radford (bronze) and Nat Dodd (silver). Janick’s parents are on their hols in Spain and got on the bus and made it in time to see him win a medal. They were only able to stay for a few hours but were there for the time it counted.

We watched some doubles with Mark Le Conte and Laurence Graham giving the number one seeds from Gibraltar a run for their money. The new squash courts are pretty cool and can be moved to make a proper doubles court. I’d not seen it played on a court like that before. Although every time I watch the squash it always makes me feel sorry for the person who has to clean all the glass, as they are all constantly wiping their sweaty hands on it!

On the walk to the Beach Volleyball we had a little chanting practice in the tunnel. We figured the acoustics would be good and wanted to get our supporters, including the Bailiff, in fine voice. You’ll have to have a look at that one on our social media.

The Beach Volleyball is set with the stunning backdrop of the coast and the sea. Jen Lindfield and Gemma Nicolle are two of our island indoor volleyball players who have transitioned to beach volleyball as their sport isn’t included in the games for the forseeable future. It’s great to have them here and hopefully more of our island volleyball team might consider it for the future. The girls came here for the experience and tonight’s game was their final one. They played amazingly and beat the hosts second team in straight sets much to their delight. They’ve worked so hard and it was an emotional win for them and great to see. They have unintentionally sent a volleyball floating off to Africa though, one of the problems of being so close to the sea

We were there to make some noise for the girls and as you might imagine we were outnumbered by locals but we made our noise count. We were doing a pretty good job and managed to get hold of the microphone, not that we really needed it. Some of our other former volleyball ladies are here this week to support our beach volleyball girls. They’ve taken the week off work to be here and soak it all up and are probably deserving of a supporter medal for the sheer number of events they’ve made it to. A different experience of the games for them. They’ve been streaming the beach volleyball games back to fans in Guernsey too.

For some of our team their events are over and it’s great to see them out supporting their fellow Team Guernsey competitors. For our triathletes whose event was over and done with on Sunday, they’ve already been back on their bikes. They popped over to Spain for a quick 90km ride. Let’s not mention some of them making it up a ridiculously steep hill only to be too nervous to ride back down it, or a three and half hour delay because of a puncture. To round off their day, they went to watch the time trial up at the top of the Rock and a cheeky monkey stole their Guernsey flag. Whilst I’m not overly fond of the monkeys they do have good taste in flags. 

Gold medal in the team event for the 4th games in a row

Squash into the doubles after two medals in the singles

Jen and Gemma in action as they got their first win in their final match of the games

Excellent supporters supplying chocolate and booze after the beach volleyball girls finished their event

Supporter problems. Purple blistered fingers and broken whackers.

Monday 8th July 2019

Every day is a busy day at the Island Games as there is so much to fit into a week. Judo were in action today. Their sport hasn’t been involved for a long time so it was great to get a chance to go along and see some of the team in their categories. I can’t say I really understood what I was watching but was getting it explained to me by some very patient Isle of Wight competitors. The guys are competing on a Military base called Devil’s Tower Camp so as you can imagine security is pretty tight. There wasn’t a lot of room for spectators and it was hot in that gym! There were a few delays but we did get to see a couple of the guys in action before an injury to one of the competitors from Gibraltar put a stop to things for a while. Lewis Bourgaize went on to win bronze in the 73kg category which was brilliant.

Talking of security you do have to be a little careful where you go for your cool down run as a couple of our athletes found out having strayed on to an Army base where the story goes they were shouted at and chased off. No shots fired. Good thing they can run fast.

Brian and Kath were over at the clay range watching some of the shooting there. By the looks of things they’ve got some rather spectacular facilities. It was another good day shooting for Guernsey overall with a gold for Nikki Trebert and more medals for Andy Torode and James Straughan to add to their collections as well as a silver medal for our clay shooters Darren Burtenshaw and Alexander Williams.

The facilities in Gib are looking really impressive, some of them aren’t quite finished off but the Gibraltar athletes are certainly going to benefit from the legacy of this Games!

On our whistlestop tour of events we dropped in on the table tennis to see them go through to the final of the team event tomorrow against Jersey of all opponents! They’ve got a pretty great set up at a school here in Gibraltar. As we visit all the various events we’re taking notes for little hints and tips for our 2021 organising committee. They’re also here this week learning about the hosting of the Games ready for 2 years time.

From table tennis to squash. This is in the same venue as badminton at Europa Point, where the opening ceremony was. It’s incredible. We were pleased to see Nat Dodd go through to the final of the ladies singles with a win against her opponent from Jersey. If everything only took 14 minutes to complete we’d be able to see all our sports in a single day!

From Europa Point it’s not far to the pistol shooting which is on the same site as the newly built swimming pool and athletics track. We stopped in to see how Nikki and Becky were faring before heading over to the athletics finals to see Sam Wallbridge and Peter Curtis take silver and bronze in the 400 hurdles in rather windy conditions. I loved Peter’s reaction to his bronze, he was so pleased with it, and rightly so. It was a good night at the track for our athletes with more medals after that.

From there we dropped by men’s basketball. Thank goodness for our attaches who are driving us to and fro or we wouldn’t manage to see as much as we are. We got to see the first half of Guernsey’s men against the Faroe Islands and they had a good lead by half time and went on to win the game convincingly although the website results got things round the wrong way. Hopefully that’s been sorted out because it was definitely a win for them. 

Naturally there are always birthdays for some of our competitors during an Island Games week but there are a couple of special ones this week. Today’s was Agris Dulbinskis who turned 30 today. He’s here as part of the basketball team who made it a special one for him with presents in the morning and cake after their win. Happy birthday!

The day rounded off for us with the Badminton team final. It’s an event Guernsey has dominated in recent Island Games, and even not so recent. It was an absolute nail biter going down to the mixed doubles decider against Greenland and the supporters of both sides were doing their best to be as loud as possible. Anyone who knows Bucky will know we had some volume on our side! Sadly it wasn’t enough and Greenland took the gold. Our team were so dejected about their silver and it’s such a contrast to the seeing the delight from Peter Curtis winning bronze on the track earlier in the evening. But we get it. We were gutted for them but hope that they can pick themselves up and we’re sure they will, ready for the rest of their events.

The weather has improved and it was feeling hot today. A good chance to put some of the goodies from Utmost to the test. We’ve all been given a little fan that you can plug into your phone to cool you down. It’s nice to have a need for them now. When we handed them out on the day of the opening ceremony it was the windiest day so far and our must have accessory of #Gib2019 is now coming into its own. 

Naughty team Jersey have been interfering with our medals boards. We always have the boards in our hotel and get our medal winners to add their names to it at the end of each day so the rest of the team can track their progress. It’s actually even more important with us spread across a few different venues this time. I think some of our Jersey friends weren’t quite so appreciative.

I’ve already told you how smart our Utmost Worldwide kit is looking but it turns out there is some jealousy around our headwear too. Due to the heat here we wanted to make sure that everyone had a hat of some variety to protect them from the sun. We offered our athletes the option of a wide brim hat or a baseball cap and they chose accordingly. But the wide brim hat is the one that the other teams want and they’ve been trying to sweet talk their way into getting some. We’ll have to see how generous we’re feeling but I’m pretty convinced none of team Jersey will be after them.

There is some down time between events for some of the team and they always make the most of it. It was great to see so many of the other sports coming to support their friends and teammates at their games. It also gives people a chance to explore the place we’re visiting, be a little touristy. The basketball teams made it to the top of the Rock to meet up with some of the inhabitants there. Rather them than me, the apes freak me out. Have a look at their photos below. Later on they also happened to bump into Steven Gerrard at the basketball. We’re not sure which island he’s playing for though.

Oh and lesson of the day was for Kath. Do not keep a pen in your backpack or you risk scribbling all over your white tracksuit. I haven’t shared a pic here. I saved it for social media instead. There are no words! No, really. It’s just squiggles.

Don’t forget to follow what we’re up to on social media. For updates through the day your best bet is twitter and for photo updates Facebook and Instagram.

Judo in the gym at Devil’s Tower Camp

Rather nice venue for the clay shooting don’t you think?

Table tennis going into the final

A great night at the athletics

Brave basketball ladies at the top of the Rock

Sunday 7th July 2019

Team Guernsey! What a first day! It was exciting, emotional, exhausting.

An early start for the triathletes and their supporters but what a great event to be a spectator at. We were told by one of the course marshalls just how tough the ride section of it was with what he described as a 13% consistent climb up near the tunnel but they were making the course look easy. I’m not so sure it will have felt easy.

It seemed particularly evenly matched between Guernsey’s Josh Lewis and Jersey’s Ollie Turner until they got to the run. It was brilliant to be there to see Josh win and all the guys come in. Then the ladies went and did incredibly well too. A great haul of medals for the very first event of the games.

As team managers for the whole team, the five of us (Brian, Jon, Kathy, Bucky and I) try to get round to as many of the sports as possible so we had a busy first day and its always difficult trying to be in more than one place at a time but we give it a go. Unfortunately we missed an amazing medal haul at the shooting with team gold and silver for Nikki Trebert and Becky Margetts and team gold and bronze for Andy Torode and James Straughan. We were very pleased to be there in the evening to see them receive those medals. Nikki and Becky had to return their silvers for a while as there were so many medals being presented but not enough of them. The organisers called in extra supplies so they had them before they left. 

Andy was telling us that Gibraltar is his 8th Games and he’s won 47 medals so far! How amazing is that? How does that compare to some? Meanwhile James was loving it on the podium so much he was demonstrating his skills at flossing.

We stopped in at Basketball at Bayside to see our Ladies in action and they were disappointed with their loss to the Isle of Man but it was great to see so many of their young team getting valuable court time. The men were on court not long after against Saaremaa who they lost to in bronze medal play off last time. An exciting one to watch according to Jon who was there and although it was a loss it was a close game with lots of positives for Guernsey to take.

Meanwhile us ladies were over at the tennis in the blazing sun as the men competed in the team event. We watched a very interesting doubles match between the guys and Ynys Mon. One of the guys from Ynys Mon was very vocal in his disappointment at the way he was playing, lets just put it like that. Pieter and Tom won in 2 sets. Later the Ladies went on to win bronze in their team event although at the end of the day the medals table still wasn’t reflecting that.

In the evening we watched the Town Centre Crit which is always an exciting one for spectators with lots of laps over a relatively short distance. Again great results for our cycling team with gold for Sam Culverwell in the men’s and team medals for both teams.

It was interesting to see Island FM sharing a tweet comparing day one with the Gotland and Jersey games on day one. An impressive start as far as medals are concerned in Gib. But we know better than most that it’s not all about medals and there were loads of brilliant performances from the team on day one. I’m not going to be a results service as there already is one and our local media are out here working tirelessly to tell you what’s going on too. We’re keeping up with what everyone is up to and already so proud of Team Guernsey on day one. It’s going to be a great week.

What I love about the time together at an Island Games is getting to know the team and other islands at the various events but also during time in the hotel. It was fascinating to hear, over breakfast, from some of the other islands staying in our hotel about what goes into a weigh-in ahead of Judo and other sports that need a pre-fight weigh-in. We had people skipping breakfast and all food and drink in general to get down to their fighting weight while others were having to eat and drink for five to make sure they were up to weight. Clearly I’m never meant to take up any of these sports! I had no idea about it all and clearly any kind of drastic diet is not recommended. Since we are now post weigh-in I’m sure the dinner plates and scales are looking rather different.

In looking out for Team Guernsey we may be called into action at any time so we are always prepared, and now fully stocked on cotton buds. Bucky has taken it to the next level and even accessorises to aid the team. Lots of the sports are using local sims as there isn’t wifi at all venues and they need to be able to communicate, get on social media, and check the Utmost blog. Can they get the sim cards out of their phones to swap though? No. But Bucky came to the rescue with her earring. We’ve got your backs Team

Our triathletes

Our shooters

Our cyclists

Up late checking the medal table at the end of day one

The Medical Team

We are very lucky to have with us four fabulous medics helping out and looking after Team Guernsey here in Gibraltar. They are Simon Guest, Glenn Etherington and Dan Bihet as organised by Dr Ian Gee. They’ll likely have a busy week, although hopefully not have to deal with anything too serious but we put them to the test early on. I’ll let Dr Gee tell his side of things…

“After months of planning and preparing. After time spent poring over inventories from previous games. After gathering together all the equipment they thought they needed, the Medical Team felt ready for the Games. They had 10 boxes containing hundreds of pounds worth of pills and potions and plasters and all sorts of kit. They felt optimistic that they were well prepared. On the fist night they were confronted with a crisis. They needed a cotton wool bud for a patient and there were none. Late at night and all the shops were shut. Lots of messages to team members to see if anyone had a bud. Asking at hotel reception to see if they had one. None to be found. Thankfully the situation was resolved by the other hotel but Dr Gee was straight to the supermarket the next morning. Next time buds will be on the list!!”

Dr Gee is now ready for all emergencies!

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony was held at Europa Point, a newly built sports complex in the south.

We were all bused from near our hotels in the hour or so before the ceremony was due to start. I have to say as Team Guernsey we were looking pretty striking in our green and white kit, provided by our sponsors Utmost Worldwide.

To break any potential boredom you can always count on Wilson and the rest of the men’s basketball team. We’ll give him a gold for entertainment as he cartwheeled his way past the lighthouse and police officers.

It was incredibly windy in Gibraltar for the ceremony so Nikki Trebert, our flag bearer, had a rather tough job on her hands and was  having to apologise for whipping anyone nearby with it.

Nikki led the way for the team followed by our Water Carriers Oriana Wheeler and Emma Sykes who are two of our youngest competitors. They did a brilliant job. 

There’s a real theme of protecting our environment and oceans. Hope is the dolphin mascot and the fountain which all the water was poured into from all the islands is a dolphin made out of recycled material. We were also entertained by the Recycle Junkies. Think Stomp with recycling. They were very impressive. 

It finished just after nine and it was a free for all for the buses to get back so we were mixing with other teams. Bucky and I were the last 2 to get on a bus and ended up having an enlightening chat with some of the Gibraltar team. After hearing where we are staying they warned us to make sure we always close our windows. Apparently the apes like hotel rooms too. I was hoping they might be taking the mickey but there was a very convincing story about a cheeky ape using a suitcase for a toilet.

Have a look at our facebook page for a highlights video from the Opening Ceremony and keep track of what’s going on through the day with twitter and instagram!

Nikki Trebert wrangling the flag in windy conditions at Europa Point

Emma and Oriana

The fountain for Gibraltar 2019

Saturday 6th July

Good morning from Gibraltar! Team Guernsey is all present and correct after the majority of us travelled to the island yesterday. I’m Isla from the GIGA Board and I’ll be updating the blog each day that we’re here with some of the stories and pictures of our team experiences. So Team Guernsey if you’re reading this feel free to give me all the gossip on the sly. I’m here thanks to the help of our sponsors Utmost Worldwide so if you make it in the blog and you’re not happy then you know who to blame.

Yesterday was a long day of travel but from our perspective it went pretty smoothly. Our first flight out in the morning handled the added pressures of peak travel time at the airport and the notorious security line. Our Ladies Basketball team travelled via London and are staying in the Athletes Village. Plane two with another 80 passengers on board also went smoothly. The second plane load also had our VIPs on board, Guernsey’s Bailiff Sir Richard Collas and Graham Chester from the Guernsey Sports Commission who are staunch supporters of Team Guernsey and you’ll see them at as many events as they can possibly manage over the course of the next week.

We flew with Jota Airways, thanks to Air Partners, and the crew were lovely and really interested in what the team is up to whilst we’re here.

Team Guernsey is split across three lots of accommodation here in Gibraltar. As mentioned before our Ladies Basketball team is staying in the Athletes Village and then the rest of us are split between two hotels on either side of the rather large rock that there is here. It’s a shame we can’t all be in the one place together but it’s just not always possible.

We’ve had our first medical case of the games, don’t worry I’ve had patient permission to tell all. We’ve got a fab medical team with us again this year of Dr Ian Gee, Simon Guest, Glenn Etherington and Dan Bihet who was a last minute substitution for a poorly Emma Kinder (get well soon!). Bucky who has been responsible for organising all the travel for Team Guernsey decided she’d put them to the test early when she got some grit stuck in her eye as we got off the plane. We were warned it was windy but what can you do. The medical team hadn’t even unpacked their kit but when they did would you believe that neither they nor anyone in their hotel had a cotton bud for grit removal? Dr Gee really thought he’d planned for as many eventualities as he could have. We like to keep him on his toes. He did have eye drops though. Thanks to a cotton bud at the other hotel Bucky’s eye is recovering so she’s not actually winking at you and the medical team now has a plentiful supply of cotton buds.

Today we prepare for the Opening Ceremony. It’s taking place this evening and we’ll share some highlights on social media. Have a look at the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation as they might well be streaming the ceremony and other events live through this week. And of course our local media is represented out here too so tune in to all the usual suspects for coverage at home.

Until tonight, for most of the team it’s a case of finding their way around to their sporting venues and having some practice time. The men’s basketball team were training at 9pm last night just an hour or so after arriving. Everyone is making the most of final preparations before the events begin.

First flight. Photo courtesy of Chris George

The Ladies Basketball team

Plane 2. Photo courtesy of Guernsey Press

The first departures

2 July 2019

The first members of Team Guernsey have set off for Gibraltar today. Gary Wallbridge and Alex Wilson set sail for France with Condor Ferries in the cycling team van with bikes and spares aboard. Condor has very kindly helped with the cost of transport and a second van filled with kit for the triathlon team leaves tomorrow. It’s a long drive ahead for those going by road but they have previous experience of long journeys to the Natwest International Island Games, with several vans having made the trip to Gotland two years ago.

Meanwhile, at Guernsey Airport some of the triathletes and cyclists were taking the quicker option of flying to Gibraltar. They’re setting off early to give themselves a bit of extra time to try and acclimatise to the heat before they have to compete in it. The majority of the team will travel to Gibraltar on Friday on flights specially chartered for them.

You’ll be able to follow our progress in Gibraltar here on the website in our blog but also on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

Early departures for those who want to spend some time acclimatising to the heat of Gibraltar

Early departures for those who want to spend some time acclimatising to the heat of Gibraltar

Ready for Gibraltar

24 June 2019

Team Guernsey is officially ready for the off after a special event hosted by Guernsey’s Bailiff, Sir Richard Collas. It’s become a traditional part of the pre-games preparations with the team attending in their kit to hear the well wishes of the Bailiff and team sponsors Utmost Worldwide.

The athletes gathered at Beau Sejour Leisure Centre for the event. Local photographer Chris George was on hand to take some pictures of our sportsmen and women and it’s just as well he has a head for heights as he needed to be pretty high up to get everyone in the team photo.

Our team has been very well supported by our sponsors Utmost Worldwide who are responsible for our kit but they also traditionally give the Guernsey team a goody bag of extra items to take away. With a 200 strong team, our coaches, medics, VIPs and the GIGA Committee were all delighted to receive a recyclable drawstring bag filled with goodies.

Inside the bag are sunglasses, sunblock and clappers to make some noise in Gibraltar, as well as Guernsey team pin badges to exchange with team members from other islands. Each bag also has a Sarnia Cherie card to make sure we can all sing along with our island anthem during medal ceremonies. Thanks Utmost!

Team Guernsey 2019

Brian Allen – Chairman of GIGA, Guernsey’s Bailiff – Sir Richard Collas, Giorgio Daboni – CEO Utmost Worldwide

Utmost Worldwide kit out Team Guernsey 2019

5 June 2019

Team Guernsey’s kit for Gibraltar has been revealed as the team’s flag bearer and water carriers were also named. Sponsors, Utmost Worldwide, have very generously covered the cost of the striking white and green kit for the whole team at this summer’s Island Games.

The kit, designed by KUDOS Sports in conjunction with the Guernsey Island Games Association, is made of a lightweight material aimed at helping the competitors cope in the heat of Gibraltar. It consists of trousers, 2 polo shirts, a gilet and sunhat with the logos of both GIGA and Utmost Worldwide on them. 

Giorgio Daboni, the Chief Executive Officer for Utmost Worldwide Guernsey said: ‘We know that all the athletes feel a great sense of pride when they are chosen to wear the Guernsey colours, and we are equally honoured to see our logo on their team kit. Once again, GIGA has done a fantastic job designing it and we can’t wait to see the full Guernsey team parade it in Gibraltar.’

As the kit was revealed the flag bearer for Team Guernsey at the Opening Ceremony on the 6th of July was also named. Nikki Trebert (Shooting) says she’s honoured to have been chosen for the job. Gibraltar will be Nikki’s 9th games having first represented the island for pistol shooting in 1997. So far Nikki’s won 17 medals in total – 7 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze. Trebert says the whole shooting team are feeling confident they can bring more medals home this time although they certainly don’t underestimate their opponents, with the home island expected to have an extremely strong team. 

Traditionally the water carrier for Guernsey has been one of the youngest members of the team. Fourteen-year-olds Oriana Wheeler (Swimming) and Emma Sykes (Basketball) have been chosen to jointly carry out the role. They filled a Guernsey copper can with sea water at Havelet Bay and will mix it with water from all the other competing islands as part of the opening ceremony. Making their debuts in the Island Games this year both Wheeler and Sykes said it was an honour to have been chosen and it will add to their overall experience at their first Island Games.

GIGA Chairman Brian Allen was pleased to be showing off 2019’s new team kit. ‘We are also delighted to be announcing our flag bearer and water carriers and to have such young athletes representing Guernsey is a testament to the calibre of sport we have in the island. We know they’ll do a great job for Guernsey in their roles at the Opening Ceremony, as well as in their respective sports.’

Brian Allen, GIGA, Giorgio Daboni, CEO Utmost Worldwide Guernsey, Nikki Trebert, Tony Mealing, Head of Customer Services, Jon Marley, GIGA, Oriana Wheeler, Emma Sykes.

Shooting and Squash supported by Healthspan

1 June 2019

Both the shooting and squash teams have received financial support from leading vitamin, mineral and supplement supplier Healthspan to help fund their competing kit for the Natwest International Island Games in Gibraltar. While the overall team kit is covered by Utmost Worldwide, each sport also needs kit to wear during their events.

Michael Lawther, Chief Executive Officer at Healthspan, said: “The Guernsey way of life has always influenced our company’s core values, so being able to provide two teams with kits to represent our beautiful home at the Island Games makes the team at Healthspan incredibly proud. We’re excited to watch all the teams compete in Gibraltar and wish them all the best of luck.” 

Brian Allen, Chairman of the Guernsey Island Games Association, said: “We’re very grateful to Healthspan for supporting two of our Island Games sports with kit to wear when they’re competing in Gibraltar. All of our athletes make a big personal financial commitment to be able to compete at the Natwest International Island Games so support like Healthspan’s is a huge help.”

Laurence Graham, Squash Player-Manager said: ” With training intensifying, receiving our kits early to get a feel for them has been really helpful. We can’t wait to represent Guernsey in our news shirts thanks to Healthspan.”

Chris Jackson, Guernsey Shooting Team Manager, said: “We’re grateful for Healthspan’s kit contribution for the shooting team and we look forward to proudly wearing while representing the island in Gibraltar.”

Guernsey’s Squash team for 2019

Guernsey shooting team 2019

Table Tennis team for Gibraltar

8 May 2019

A mix of youth and experience have been chosen by the GTTA Senior Selection Committee to represent Guernsey in the upcoming Island Games in Gibraltar. They’re looking to defend the team title, having won gold at their last three Island Games – Gotland 2017, Jersey 2015 and the Isle of Wight 2011.

Garry Dodd leads the charge in the men’s event, playing in his 6th Games and looking to add to his 5 gold medals previously earned. Meanwhile for the women, veteran Dawn Morgan will hope to set more records as she competes in her 11th Games. Dawn has an impressive tally of 27 medals so far and 7 of them are gold. Paula Le Ber rejoins the team, having last competed in 2011.


Garry Dodd

Lawrence Stacey

Joshua Sacey

Ben Foss


Dawn Morgan

Paula Le Ber

Sam Kershaw

Daisy Kershaw

Non-Playing Captain: Alex Robinson

Team Manager: Derek Webb

Athletics send 32-strong squad to Gibraltar

7 May 2019

32 athletes will represent Guernsey in Gibraltar this summer with some experienced stars of previous Games including Sarah Mercier and Louise Perrio on the women’s side, with Island Games veteran Dale Garland and Sam Wallbridge heading up the men.

Guernsey Athletics say that Mercier is arguably the strongest medal prospect having been in outstanding form of late – she’s attempting the 5,000/10,000m double for the first time. Mercier is joined in the 10,000m by Jenny James who has progressed markedly since the Gotland Games two years ago.

Sam Wallbridge claimed silver over the 400m hurdles in Gotland and will be aiming to bring home another medal this time around, whilst Joe Chadwick looks to have a strong chance of doing so over the 200m having debuted in the Island Games in the high jump in 2017. Ed Mason and Indi Gallagher were also medalists in Gotland and they compete again in the steeplechase and 400m respectively.

Team manager Tom Druce also has a number of youngsters making their Island Games debuts in Gibraltar and says “We have shown faith in some of the younger athletes who just missed out on their qualifying marks – with Guernsey 2021 around the corner it only seems right to try to expose athletes to this level of competition to aid their preparation for that.”

“Tom Brierley in the discus is a great example of someone who has put a lot in of late to try and make the team – the selectors noted the unfortunate situation with regards to the lack of javelin or hammer in the Games this time and the importance of putting the throws ‘out there’ as an event group. It is important for the development of that area of the sport and again to prepare and encourage ahead of 2021.”

“We have a few likely medal winners who unfortunately are not going to be with us this year for various reasons, but it is now time to focus on those who will be. There are at least one or two who I think will go under the radar for now and then produce something significant in July.”

Judo to take team of 5 to Gibraltar

10 March 2019

Guernsey’s Judo team for Gibraltar has been officially announced with five athletes competing in three weight categories. 

Under 73kgs – Lewis Bourgaize & Tom Barclay

Under 81kgs – Louis Plevin & Howard Joyce

Under 90kgs – Peter Childs

The Team Manager and Coach, Eddie Mann, says there are three events for the athletes to take part in. All five will be involved in the Individual events, the Team event includes one athlete per weight category and the Open event allows two athletes from any weight category to compete.

Eddie says Gibraltar is a fantastic opportunity for the team as Judo isn’t always included in the sporting lineup at the Island Games. He adds his athletes have been training hard doing a variety of competitions in the build up to the Games and is hopeful they’ll be able to bring home some medals.

Having received financial support from Guernsey team sponsors Generali in the form of a bursary they were able to use the money to bring 6th Dan Oxford University Coach Chris Doherty to the island to train with them all in preparation for this summer.

Left to right: Eddie Mann (Team Manager/Coach), Tom Barclay, Lewis Bourgaize, Howard Joyce, Peter Childs, Chris Doherty (Visiting Coach), Louis Plevin

Squash name team for return to the Games

23 February 2019

The Squash team has been named for Gibraltar this summer as the sport returns to the Games after six years.

Player-Manager Laurence Graham and Natalie Dodd are the two with previous Games experience. They won the mixed doubles bronze medal together in Bermuda in 2013, the last time the sport was included in the line up.

Four players are making their debuts in Gibraltar in July: Henry Birch, Janick Radford, Mark Le Conte and Karen Robinson

20 swimmers named for Gibraltar

20 February 2019

Eight swimmers will represent Guernsey at an Island Games for the very first time this summer as part of the squad of twenty. The swim team named for Gibraltar is described as having a good balance of experienced swimmers and new talent.

Initially swimmers from the two local clubs signed up with their intent to compete but knew they were fighting for a maximum of twenty places available for selection.

Chris Butt, the GASA President, says it’s been encouraging to see so many senior swimmers, who’ve attended many Games in the past, still inspired to continue with the hard training required to compete at this level. Adding that the group of youngsters coming through the ranks are showing great potential too.

Following the success of the swim team in Gotland, members are focused on continuing to train hard over the coming months in the hope of enjoying similar success in Gibraltar this summer.

Chris Butt says for those who didn’t make the team this time it’s hoped they’ll continue to train hard and set their sights on future competitions including the home games in Guernsey in 2021.

Swim Team 2019

Courtney Butcher; Orla Rabey; Laura Le Cras, Tatiana Tostevin

Ben Lowndes; Tom Hollingsworth; Will Mansell; Jonathon Beck; Will Russell; Tom Teasdale; Louis Tostevin; Charlie-Joe Hallett

New caps

Ailish Rabey; Pip Gallagher; Molly Staples; Oriana Wheeler; Ellen Morley

Sam Lowe; Ronny Hallett; Toby Fitzgerald