Games ‘best in history’ Beard
Bermuda should be awarded a gold medal after hosting arguably the must successful NatWest Island Games in the competition’s 28-year history.
That’s according to Jon Beard, the Bermuda Island Games Association chairman, who yesterday hailed the efforts of the entire Island for ensuring the Games will be remembered as a “first class” event.
The culmination of two years’ of preparation and with none of the pre-Games concerns over transport and accommodation coming to fruition Beard said he had been overwhelmed by the positive feedback he had received from the visiting teams.
“I’m really pleased and elated with the way the week went,” said Beard. “I think the cooperation of anybody in Bermuda was absolutely first class.
“I’ve been down at the airport saying goodbye to the teams and everyone I spoke to couldn’t speak highly enough of the competition, the venues and the friendliness of Bermuda.
“Not only were they saying these Games had the best opening and closing ceremonies they had been to they were saying it was best Games they had ever been to.
“I’m know I’m going to be a bit biased but I thought it was a terrific competition.”
Beard said he was elated with the smooth running of the event the first to be held outside of Europe and praised the contribution of the Island’s sporting governing bodies, athletes, volunteers, media and spectators.
He also believed the Games had highlighted the importance of the National Sports Centre complex, including North Field and the new Aquatics Centre, which provided the heartbeat for the biennial event.
“The general public got behind us and everyone on the Island seemed to get involved it was just a great week,” said Beard.
“I think the organisers of each sport deserve a huge pat on the back, they went above and beyond with everything they did.
“I have to thank the efforts of the local media as well who were unbelievable. The International Island Games Association said it was the best coverage there had ever been for a Games.
“I also thought the National Sports Centre really came into its own. It’s a big piece of property and the way the sports were spread out really showed what a great venue it is and what great potential it has.”
The Games saw around 1800 athletes from 22 islands competing in 14 sports at venues across the Island, with the hosts finishing second in the medal table their best ever finish behind Isle of Man.
In terms of improving the Island’s sporting reputation and boosting its tourist industry, Beard reckons the Games had been a ‘win-win’ situation for Bermuda.
“We well be doing a debrief and if we were hosting it again in a week’s time we would know exactly what were doing,” he said.
“I’m just really pleased that all the hard work of so many people has paid off and put Bermuda really and truly on the map for the Island Games.
“Even if only half of the people who have told us they will return to Bermuda come back we’ll be in great shape.
“No matter how you look at it, it’s been a great shot in the arm for Bermuda.”