Medal tradition must be upheld at Island Games
Jovan Whitter has warned anything less than medal success at the NatWest Island Games for Bermuda’s tennis team would have to be considered a failure.
Whitter will be coaching the national team that will head out to Gibraltar in July for the international multi-sports event organised by the International Island Games Association and consisting of competitor teams who represent non-sovereign territories of European nations, some within European waters and some further overseas.
Bermuda’s tennis team have enjoyed a strong history in the event with multiple individual and team medal success in previous appearances, a tradition Whitter is adamant must continue this year.
“We’re looking to win every game but realistically we are targeting a medal,” he said. “Anything less would have to be considered a failure.
“Obviously, we’ve been to the Island Games before and won medals so for sure the minimum aim is a bronze, anything less is unacceptable. Ideally, we should be looking at silver and even possibly gold.
“Guernsey and Jersey will be our main competition. They usually have very strong teams with a lot of players on the pro tour. However, we have to be confident of performing strongly.”
Joint national No 1 player Gavin Manders will lead the team, which also includes young players such as Tariq Simons and James Finnigan, both representing Bermuda at adult level for the first time, as well as David Thomas and Sam Butler.
Manders, who will be returning to the same venue as his Island Games debut in 2005, admitted the competition still holds particular personal importance, and echoed Whitter’s aspirations of medal success.
“We are all pretty excited about competing at the Island Games,” he said. “We have always done well as a unit and again this time round we have a good group of players who will be focused.
“We’ve won medals in both the team events and as individuals before so we will aiming to do the same again.
“The tennis competition is very solid and while other sports don’t see the Island Games as particularly strong, for us, it is something that still holds a lot of value.
“Gibraltar was my first Island Games in 2005 and so it will be a welcome return for me personally.
“At this stage of my career, you can never guarantee how many more you will play in and I’ll make the most of everyone one I compete in.
“We will have a young squad with players like James Finnigan and Tariq Simons. We’ll be looking at them to push on us with their youthfulness, but I’m aware that we have to be wary of helping them and guiding them through the competition a bit.”