Beard is confident team will put on a show
Bermuda’s 52-member team depart tomorrow for the NatWest International Island Games which starts in Gibraltar this weekend.
The athletes will compete in two newly-built sports complexes that now gives the country of 30,000 a new athletics stadium with an artificial turf football field in the middle, another artificial turf complex for rugby and cricket as well as a 50-metre pool and racquet complex for squash and badminton.
There is also a sports hall for basketball and volleyball. The facilities are all close to the University of Gibraltar, a new purpose built university.
Bermuda will be represented in nine sports, with Gavin Manders, the No 1 tennis player, leading the six-member tennis team which includes David Thomas, the team’s flag bearer. Cayla Cross, a late addition, is the only female tennis player. Badminton player Aaron Simmons, the youngest competitor at 17, is the water carrier in his first Games.
Thomas has competed in almost every Games since Bermuda joined the International Island Games Association and has been a silver medal-winner twice. Shianne Smith is another of the team’s most experienced members, having won multiple medals at the Games, including a hat-trick of gold medals at the 2013 Games in Bermuda, four medals in the Isle of Wight in 2011 and three in Rhodes in 2007.
Smith is one of four track and field athletes in the Bermuda team, along with middle distance runners Sean Trott, Quincy Kuzyk and Brianna Mendes.
“Although we will be without indoor volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, cycling and archery we are expecting a great showing from this Bermuda team,” said team official Jon Beard, who is the chairman of the Bermuda Island Games. Juanita Blee and Georgina Francoeur are the other team officials accompanying the team.
“Overall, it is a young team that will benefit from the experienced players and coaches they will work with,” Beard added. “We are pleased to welcome our bowling team to the Games for the first time, and we are certain they will maintain the terrific record that Bermuda bowling has internationally.
“As Gibraltar is so compact we know that athletes will go and support other members of the Bermuda team in their down time.”
The Bermuda team is smaller than the team which won 22 medals in Gotland, Sweden in 2017, including two gold. Bermuda first competed in the Island Games in 2003 in Guernsey with the team claiming 76 medals (27 gold) to finish second overall in the Games in Bermuda. They won 40 medals to finish eighth at the Rhodes Games and in the last Games finished 14th overall with 22 medals.