The Thursday and Friday of the Games are where things come to a climax. The group stages, pools and heats are done and only the strongest are left standing. The first signs of partying among the competitors too. I’m always impressed with the self-restraint of the young sports people away from home while there is still work to be done.
- The Falkland Islanders were still going strong – apart from the footballers who, with a small squad, were running out of legs with four matches in five days. Still they were happy with their 12th place finish after a 1-2 defeat to the Western Isles.
- A third medal – a bronze – was belatedly awarded to the Falkland shooters, though it won’t count in the final table. The Falklands therefore leave with three medals, which is three more than they expected.
- The most popular gold medal on the final day was won by Jersey’s women footballers who beat Aland 1-0 to great excitement at Springfield. The girls have progressed beyond recognition in recent times.
- The decision of the organisers to bring beach volleyball into the heart of town was a spectacular success with big crowds gathering at lunchtimes and evenings. The town criteriums for cycling and mountain biking (at People’s Park) were also well-supported and full of incident. Early in the week the triathlon was brilliantly presented and set the tone for the week.
- Badminton and swimming – exciting for all involved but hampered by limited spectator facilities, especially when the home island was involved. Table tennis was one of the sports I didn’t get to but was highly enjoyable by all accounts.
- Tennis, basketball, volleyball, golf, the sailing events. All went off successfully but in a lower key. The athletics seemed to be very well presented and popular. Paul Ingouville provided expert commentary which made up in part for a lack of spectator information.
- All the visitors enjoyed the facilities and warm welcome at the various shooting ranges – Crabbé, Lecq and the indoor ranges at St John and Maillard’s. A bit difficult for the uninformed spectator to follow at times but I could watch the clay pigeon shooting all day. Targets being shot out of the sky miraculously with the Paternoster rocks and other Channel Islands as a magical backdrop.
- For me the odd one out was archery. Many came to watch, including school parties, and left disappointed very quickly. Distant targets, distant shooters, no information or anything to watch. Why no information screens, target close-ups, anything at all to offer spectators? Jersey archery has a poster girl in the talented and charismatic Lucy O’Sullivan but otherwise seems content to keep its doors firmly shut. An opportunity thrown away.
- And finally, us Games Makers in our purple became the common denominator around the Island all week – 400 and more. A bit of overkill maybe but it worked. And I see that there are a group already planning to travel to Gotland as volunteers in two years’ time 🙂
- So it’s a wrap. The last competitors are on their way home. It’s been an awesome week and a spectacular sporting and organisational success. The logistics of it all have been unbelievable. Back to work for a rest.
You can find the final medals table and all the results here