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Island Games forced to be pushed back to 2023

Tennis player David Thomas carries the Bermuda flag during the opening ceremony of the 2019 NatWest Island Games in Gibraltar

Next year’s rescheduled Island Games in Guernsey have been put back to 2023, the International Island Games Association announced yesterday.

The multi-sport event for small islands, which Bermuda hosted in 2013, was scheduled for this summer, before the pandemic forced its postponement.

The 2021 Island Games were then set for next July in Guernsey, involving 3,500 competitors and officials, but had to be postponed because of Covid-19.

“The announcement that the NatWest Island Games 2021, scheduled to he held in Guernsey has been postponed until 2023 seemed the obvious move to the Bermuda Island Games Association,” said chairman Jon Beard yesterday.

“Guernsey have already made significant upgrades to their facilities and were ready for 2021. However, the current economic climate and the uncertainty as to safety made the change of date necessary.

“With the Commonwealth Games scheduled for 2022, that involves many of the various islands’ athletes, the change to 2023 makes most sense.”

At the 2019 Games, Bermuda’s 48-member team won 14 medals in Gibraltar to finish seventeenth out of 22 islands.

“The Bermuda contingent is usually around 100 athletes and with the extra time to prepare, the Bermuda Island Games organisers are hoping we will have at least that number for 2023,” Beard added.

“The sports involved are archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, football, golf, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis and tennis. Bermuda has been represented in all of these sports and we have been very successful in many of them.

“We look forward to continued participation and success in this competition involving over 3,000 athletes and officials from 23 member islands.”

No dates has been set for the 2023 Island Games or what could happen to the Games which had been planned for the island of Orkney in 2023.

"We have waited for even the slightest possible opportunity to go on with the Games in 2021, but we have to acknowledge the facts," said Jorgen Pettersson, chairman of the International Island Games Association.

“The pandemic is not over, the quarantine regulations will continue to make planning forward very, very difficult and even impossible. Therefore, it would not be fair to ask the member islands or the host 
island to commit financially to an event next summer.

“This has been a difficult decision to accept for all of us. I am truly sorry for this decision, but I also know the determination in our island communities, and I am convinced we will come back in friendly competition under the umbrella of NatWest International Island Games as soon as possible.”

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Published December 10, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 09, 2020 at 10:52 pm)

Island Games forced to be pushed back to 2023

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