Sixth Island Games - Gibraltar 1995
15th - 22nd July 1995
Two people were initially responsible for bringing the Island Games to Gibraltar:— Freddie (‘no problem’) Chappory and Gaby Perez. They submitted a proposal to host the Games in Gibraltar at the 1991 Aland Games, and despite some reservations by the Executive Committee, it was eventually approved. The next major hurdle was to convince Gibraltar that we could hold such a major event. Such questions were asked as “What venues would we use?”, “Where was the finance to come from?”, “Where will they all be accommodated?”, etc. Luckily we had the backing of our local government and our main sponsor, Gibtel, right from our initial bid. So, to that end, an organising committee was elected on our return from the Isle of Wight Games.
WELCOME TO THE SUNSHINE GAMES
A message from Fred Chappory, B.E.M., chairman Gibraltar Island Games Association
As Chairman of the Gibraltar Island Games Association I am proud to welcome you to Gibraltar for the Sixth Island Games. For many people this bi-ennial event is now a way of life, others will be experiencing this unique sporting occasion for the first time. This year, we expect the event in Gibraltar to attract over 2,000 athletes and friends from all parts of the world.
From its humble, small beginnings a decade ago, we have come a long way. The realisation of the Island Games event originally came about in 1985 when the Isle of Man dedicated its ‘Year of Sport’ to establishing an event that would feature fellow small islands from around the UK. Its historic links with Scandinavia led to invitations being sent to small islands from the area including Gotland and Froya. The initial aim to invite eight islands to compete was shattered by the overwhelming response. This week, 18 different islands will be participating in over 14 sporting disciplines.
The spirit of the event has evolved too and today is very much a community occasion with an emphasis on unity. As well as offering a warm welcome in a unique setting, the people of Gibraltar have put a great deal of effort into providing the best facilities and services for the competitors and visitors. My special thanks go to the many volunteers and committee members who have contributed so much to this year’s event.
In addition, I would particularly like to thank the Government of Gibraltar for its contribution and support. Many new and upgraded sporting facilities have been provided which will stay in place for the good of all young people. We also have to thank the main sponsor, Gibtel, for all its contributions which started in 1991.
As any previous host island can confirm, the orchestration of the Island Games is very much a team effort. We have received tremendous support from past hosts who have guided us and contributed to what I hope will be the most successful Games to date.
As we witnessed in the Isle of Wight two years ago and will see in Gibraltar this year, the Island Games gives athletes the opportunity not only to excel at their chosen sport but also to enjoy a truly international atmosphere with fellow competitors from around the globe.
I would like to wish all the athletes every success on behalf of the Gibraltar Island Games Association and look forward to a successful and happy Games where the competitors and visitors alike will enjoy the thrill of taking part in this great event in spectacular surroundings.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF THE ISLAND GAMES ASSOCIATION
Dick Ekstrom (Aland)
Behind every successful Island Games there lies a dedicated and hard working Organising Committee. However, what is not always quite so apparent is that behind the continued success and growth of the Island Games Association is an equally dedicated and caring group of officers who form the I.G.A. Executive Committee.
I have had the pleasure of being a member of the Executive Committee since its formation in 1985 in the Isle of Man and have been privileged to be the Chalrman for the past four years. We have seen the Games grow from a 7-sport event to the present 14 sports programme catering for well over 1,500 competitors from 21 member islands with a wide geographical distribution covering both the North and the South Atlantic.
Although the Executive Committee meet only once between every Games, there is a steady stream of correspondence and regular communication between the seven elected officers between meetings. The Association has been extremely well served by all its officers but special mention must be given to the role of General Secretary. We had the good fortune of having our Pater Ludorum, Geoffrey Corlett (Isle of Man) as our first secretary and his good work has now been developed by another Manxman, Steve Cooil. The Executive Committee has striven to keep up with the pace of change and the growth of the Games and yet has not, hopefully, lost sight of the original concept and objectives of the Association.
We believe that the Executive Committee has reacted in a very positive way, and in the interests of its members, to the many approaches to increase the size and quality of its membership and the number of sports and competitors in the Games. Despite the growing interest from national and international media and of attractive sponsorship deals for the Games, the Executive Committee is determined to foster the image of friendly competition for athletes from all member islands regardless of their size and wealth. The “smaller” member islands are, however, finding it increasingly difficult to make plans to host the Games and even raise sufficient funds to attend the Games. All members are surely saddened by this development but the Association will endeavour to make every attempt to help competitors from these islands to feel that they are valued and can contribute to the success of the Island Games Association.
A new I.G.A. constitution is now in place results and records from previous Games are now properly documented - and the Association’s administration is becoming more sophisticated through the use of computers, fax machines, etc.
We look forward to the Sixth Island Games here in Gibraltar renewing friendships from previous Games and making new, and perhaps long-standing, relationships with fellow islanders. (Has history been made yet with a marriage between islanders who first met at an Island Games?) The members of your Executive Committee are easily recognised as they move around the venues. Please find an opportunity to make friends with them and even offer suggestions for improving the Games and your Association.
MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER FOR SPORT
The Hon. Marl Montegriffo
The whole of Gibraltar is proud that we are hosting such an important event as the Island Games. Certainly, they provide an opportunity for the smaller countries to participate on a par with each other.
Gibraltar is not an island but, in 1985, we were accepted as a member of these Games in view of the fact that for the previous 19 years our border with the neighbouring country was closed, and hence we were effectively living in an “island”.
Therefore, Gibraltarians have always considered sport as an important role in their lives, and out of a population of 30,000 we have approx 6,000 active sports people.
July 1995 sees the culmination of some years of effort by many entities, in particular the Gibraltar Island Games Association, the Official Sports Department, private sector companies and individuals who have volunteered to assist. To date, this happens to be the largest sporting event to take place in our country.
Finally, in welcoming the participants and officials, I trust that you will enjoy not only your participation in these Games but your stay on our Rock, so that you will leave with good memories of your visit.
President, Fred Chappory; Vice President, Andrew Perera; Secretary, Linda Alvarez; Treasurer, Gaby Perez; Assistant; Secretary, Harry Murphy; Sports Co Ordinator, Joe Schembri; Technical Officer, Robert Matto; Co-Opted Members, Dennis Clinton, Denise Chamberlain, Fernando Cavilla, Yvonne Gomez.
From the beginning the two main problems were accommodation and venues. Originally when we made the bid the idea was to use the schools for accommodation but once Lathbury Barracks was handed over from the Ministry of Defence to the Gibraltar Government we realised that we could make an excellent ‘Games Village’ at this site. The task of sorting out the refurbishment fell to Yvonne Gomez. This was a job that required huge resources as the barracks had been closed for a long time. Cleaning, painting, curtain hanging, signs, checking electricity and water supplies. Not only that, but 1,000 bunk beds had to be bought!
Eventually we managed also to provide a disco, recreation areas, shop, first aid and a restaurant for over 1,000 people.
The last major undertaking was the computer link up from all the venues to the Games Office. All new programmes were developed by our wiz-kid Fernando Cavilla and results were instantaneously transmitted to the main computer. A great achievement!
OPENING OF GAMES VILLAGE - FRIDAY, 14th JULY
Unfortunately H.R.H. The Princess Royal could not attend the Games but we were very lucky that H.R.H. Prince Andrew was visiting Gibraltar at the time and agreed to open the Games Village on Friday 14th July. He toured the village and spoke to many athletes and then visited a few of the venues. At Victoria Stadium the Minister for Sport, Marie Montegriffo, presented Prince Andrew with a picture of the stadium mounted in a set of commemorative gold and silver coins specially minted for the Games.
ARRIVAL OF ATHLETES
The first competitors arrived on the Rock as early as the Tuesday before the opening ceremony, however, most of the teams arrived on Friday and Saturday. Although most travelled by plane to Gibraltar or Malaga, our friends from Saaremaa had travelled by coach, a journey which took several days.
Aland, Alderney, Falkland, Faroes, Frøya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Iceland, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Orkney, Saaremaa, Sark, Shetland, Ynys Mon. (18).
Six core sports: Athletics, badminton, cycling, shooting, swimming and volleyball. Also archery, association football, gymnastics, judo, sailing, table tennis, tennis and windsurfing (14).
OPENING CEREMONY - SATURDAY 15th JULY
The Opening Ceremony was planned to take place in the evening due to the excessive heat of the day, however, quite a few dozens of bottles of water were drunk both before, during and after the ceremony. The temperature in the evening was still above 20 degrees centigrade.
All the participants assembled by the side of the airport runway ready to parade into the stadium. This was already seated to capacity and everyone was awaiting the arrival of the VIPs headed by His Excellency the Governor Sir John and Lady Chapple, the Chief Minister Joe Bossano and his wife and the Minister for Sport, Marie Montegriffo.
HMS Rooke Volunteer Band played the National Anthems accompanied by the local singer Giles Ramirez and everybody waited for the parade of athletes to begin.
The Band of the Gurkhas, the Governor’s former regiment, marched into the stadium followed by the previous host island, Isle of Wight, and the rest of the islands in alphabetical order. Music was also provided by the Sea Scouts band. Finally, to a tremendous roar, the Gibraltar team were led in by the Gibraltar Regiment Band.
Once all the competitors were assembled, the teams moved back off the pitch ready for the first display. This had been kept a close secret and only a few people knew that the Royal Air Force Falcon Parachuting Team were here. They jumped from their Hercules aircraft at 12,000 feet. There then followed an amazing mixture of colours and patterns of red, white and blue parachutes in a spectacular display capped by a low level fly past over the stadium by the Hercules aircraft.
Next was the turn of our well rehearsed schoolchildren. The First School children did a display to represent the sun and the Middle School children made a tableaux which spelled out ‘Welcome to the Sunshine Games’. All produced by our own Lourdes Hall.
The water ceremony followed where athletes, having brought water from their own islands, one by one poured it into the fountain which was then turned on for the duration of the Games.
The colourful dance display was performed by six local dance groups choreographed by Paulette Finlayson and Lillian Neale around the themes of the elements fire, earth and water. This culminated in the arrival of the Sun King.
The athletes then returned to their positions in front of the stand. There then followed a minute’s silence to remember the recent departed sportsmen of Gibraltar, Geoff Dunn, Joseph Pepe Reyes and Shetland cyclist David Davidson who was killed whilst training for the Gibraltar Island Games.
Organising Committee Chairman Freddie Chappory made an emotional speech welcoming everyone to these Games. Dick Ekstrom, the Chairman of the Island Games, who will be retiring after these Games, spoke of the history and importance of this bi-ennial event.
Chief Minister Joe Bossano officially declared the 1995 ‘Sunshine Games’ open and thanked the visitors for their gifts of water and declared that Gibraltar would win all the medals!
The Island Games Flag was escorted into the stadium by the Gibraltar Regiment Band and raised to the sound of the Games song, music composed by Robin Rolls, words by Peter Goodall and played by the Rooke Volunteer band.
SONG FOR THE SIXTH ISLAND GAMES
From far and near we have come, different faces, different names;
drawn together by our love for our islands and our Games.
Where the water meets the Rock, this is where our journey ends;
welcome to Gibraltar, where the stranger meets a friend.
In the shadow of the Rock, together we stand; strong and free and ready, united hand in hand.
Let the Games begin, sound the trumpet, beat the drum;
face the Rock and face the challenge,
island spirit makes us one!
Lift your eyes up to the Rock, face the battle brave and bold;
let your play be fair and true, in your quest to reach the gold.
As we strive for team and country let the contest now begin,
pushing forwards, building friendships, together we sing:
The flag bearers of the Islands formed a semi-circle around the flag and the games oath was proclaimed by Gibraltar’s Lee Whitwell and Johnny Chappory. The balloons were released and the Games had begun!
Our sporting facilities had to comply with International standards and that posed a few problems for some of our Associations. Firstly we did not have an indoor swimming pool, no shooting ranges, an alternative venue was needed for either badminton or volleyball, the roads had to be resurfaced for the cycling and a lot of new equipment was bought from around Europe. Windsurfing equipment from Germany, gymnastics equipment from Southern France, volleyball courts from England as well as other equipment for the remaining sports. Again the Government and our sponsors came to our help and everything became a reality.
SUNDAY 16th JULY
The first day of competition and whilst the athletes had their breakfast the Executive Committee were meeting with all the Technical Officers of each sport. This had to happen before any of the competitions could start.
The first medal to be won in the Games was for the Cycling criterion held early on Sunday morning. Gibraltar had never seen such a cycling event and the speed and excitement of it all caught the imagination of all the spectators. It was well worth the coach trip of three days for the gold medal winner Indrek Raanama of Saareema.
Throughout the week various social events occurred, both sports orientated as well as many civic functions.
This started with the dinner in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the First Island Games. This was organised by the Isle of Man Government Department of Leisure and Tourism. The host, Tony Brown, MHK, the Isle of Man Minister for Leisure and Tourism, spoke of the great importance that the Island Games has throughout our island communities.
Other notable events included the Reception given by the Mayor of Gibraltar, in which representatives from all the islands were presented with a commemorative plaque from the Mayor, Robert Mor. This was held at the old Garrison Library.
The Minister for Sport also held a dinner for the team managers and a representative from each sport from each island. This was held at the Caleta Palace Hotel where they were given commemorative mementoes of Gibraltar from Marie Montegriffo, the Minister for Sport.
The Chief Minister, Joe Bossano, also met with the political representatives of the participating islands.
During the lunch interval at the BGM, the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir John Chapple, invited a variety of people both local and from the visiting islands, to the Convent. Here in the pleasant gardens, the Gurhka Band played and refreshments were available. Both the Governor and the Chief Minister spoke a few words of greetings and thanks, a welcome break in such an enchanting place.
Most of the sports also held their own functions in which a merry time was had by all. The local pubs and night-clubs were also frequently visited. A few times I had to take some wayward people home. Whether in the Games village or out on the town, everyone seemed to be enjoying their stay.
FIFTH BI-ANNIAL GENERAL MEETING - THURSDAY 20th JULY
HELD AT JOHN MACINTOSH HALL
The Officers and Executive Committee Members for 1995-97 were elected as follows:
- Chairman, Alan Cross (Jersey);
- Vice-Chairman, Bo Frykenstam (Gotland);
- General Secretary, Steve Cooil (Isle of Man);
- Hon. Treasurer, Owen Le Vallee (Guernsey);
- Executive Members, John Kjaer (Faroes), Thorsten Palmquist (Gotland), Norman Morgan (Ynys Mon).
Life Membership was bestowed on Dick Ekstrom (Aland), the retiring Chairman, for his outstanding contribution to the I.G.A. since 1985, and he was presented with a gift from the Association. He had served with distinction on the Executive Committee since 1985, and elected Chairman in 1991.
The 1999 Games were awarded to Gotland, following their presentation. The meeting concluded with expressions of congratulations to Fred Chappory, and his committee for staging a superb games in Gibraltar, and thanks also to the Government and people of Gibraltar.
TREE PLANTING CEREMONY
As is customary, Dick Ekstrom planted a tree from the Island Games Association in Gibraltar’s Botanical Gardens. Mr Joe Pilcher, Minister for Tourism and Environment, accepted the tree on behalf of the people of Gibraltar.
THE FINAL DAY - FRIDAY 21STJULY
The final day saw the rush for medals in badminton, cycling, sailing, windsurfing and football. What can I say about the local response to the football competition? Well, I think the sight of our Chief Minister dressed in a football strip, jumping up and down to the wild delight of the crowd says it all. The noise, colour and fanatical cheering of the crowd is something I have never seen in Gibraltar before and it is unlikely I will see it again for a long time.
THE CLOSING CEREMONY
The Closing Ceremony as usual is the time which brings many varied emotions to the participants. For athletes it is a time to swap their strip and wait for the party later. Some are sad that it has to end because the camaraderie one finds at these Games is something to beat. New friends are made, new personal achievements are obtained, one has represented one’s island or country and felt very proud to be part of a team effort. All the weeks of hard training are finally over and it all seems to be worth the while. I know what it is like and I hope I never lose that feeling and would be proud to represent Gibraltar in future Games.
I also must mention the dignified manner in which the judo players showed their disappointment at not being included as a sport in the Jersey Games. From our point of view their presence will be sadly missed and let us hope some resolution to this problem can be found.
And so comes the time for the final speeches with expressions of thanks from Freddie Chappory and an emotional speech from Dick Ekstrom at the end of his term of office on the Executive Committee. I’m sure I’m speaking for all when I say thank you for all the hard work and dedication Dick has shown to make these Island Games the success they are today.
The flag is lowered and the Chairman presents the flag to the Chairman of the next host island, Derek Bernard (Jersey).
The Minister for Sport, Marie Montegriffo rendered a stirring speech, and then presented Jersey with the Year of Sport Trophy. This was followed by presentations of mementoes to each island. The Minister then declared the Sixth Island Games closed. The whole stadium bursts into cheers and the party starts.
THE GAMES ATMOSPHERE
Gibraltar witnessed the most enjoyable and historic sports event in our history.
The community at large rose to the occasion and the Sunshine Games were enjoyed by each and everyone. Warmth and hospitality were shown to all our visitors. The feeling of solidarity and national pride was evident at each sporting venue particularly during the football matches in which the ‘Gibraltarians’ not only cheered on their own teams but were generous to applaud the efforts of all competing teams.
In the words of Alan Ayres, the team co-ordinator for the Isle of Wight: “These have been the best ever, Gibraltar became one large yet compact Games Village for the occasion with everyone playing a part.”
Courtesy of Geoff Corlett
Below is a list of sports held at these games. Once results are available they will be linked below.
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