The Western Isles Island Games Team landed at Stornoway airport on Saturday afternoon (July 13th) to a heroes’ welcome from family, friends and supporters, after a week of truly memorable sporting action in Gibraltar.
The team ended with four gold medals, two silver and two bronze, ranking them 12th in the overall medal table and once again as top among the Scottish Islands – two places above Shetland and four places ahead of Orkney.
WIIGA chairman Norrie Macdonald was quick to pay tribute not just to the achievements of medal-winners, but to the literal blood, sweat and tears spent by athletes striving to represent their home islands to be absolute peak of their ability.
The hard-working shooting squad – who competed outside in soaring temperatures and near 80% humidity – and the small and dedicated badminton squad, who with seven players rotated through men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, every day for five days, were singled out for praise, but in every discipline where the Western Isles competed, the athletes were remarkable for individual effort and tremendous team support.
Norrie told welovestornoway.com: “We were delighted with the performance across the squad. In total there were 15 athletes making their debut and, while there were a lot of nerves, the group came together very quickly and there was plenty of advice and support to settle them in.
“Our youngest athlete at the games was badminton player Beth Macphail and she was an inspiration to the team with her competitive attitude and skills.
"In the first day of swimming it was the youngest swimmer, Sophie Smith, was the one who settled the team with a fantastic pb in the 50m breaststroke.
"It was also a first time at the games for athlete Gemma Macritchie, and she blossomed through the week, culminating with an amazing first leg in the 4x400m relay in the final track event with time of 61:5 secs, the team agonisingly finishing in fourth place.
“We did win medals and we did finish top Scottish Island again with four gold, two silver and two bronze, thanks mainly to the incredible performances from golden girl Kara Hanlon.
"But these Games will most probably be remembered most for the performances of our young athletes. I can’t wait to see how they develop over the next two years in the build-up to Guernsey 2021.”
The picture shows the whole team of athletes, coaches, managers and supporters shortly after touching down at Stornoway airport yesterday. (WIIGA).