Seventh Island Games - Jersey 1997
28th June - 4th July 1997
From Senator John Rothwell
As President of the Jersey Tourism Committee, I am delighted to welcome all those taking part in the Seventh Island Games.
The Games continue to grow in stature and Jersey takes great pride in being their host for 1997. To stage events of this size involves an enormous amount of effort, enthusiasm and hard work. Significant investment in financial and human terms has gone into making these Games the best yet.
It is my wish that everyone taking part enjoys Jersey. Make the most of our clean seas, superb beaches and great sports facilities as you enjoy the company of friends and friendly adversaries! A spirit of competition is healthy and I am in no doubt that it will be as strong as ever throughout the Games.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported this event - organisers, sponsors and competitors. For my part, I wish you all an exciting and eventful seven days.
Jersey Tourism Committee
From Senator Jean Le Maistre
As President of the Sport, Leisure and Recreation Committee, it gives me great pleasure to welcome visiting sportsmen and women to Jersey for the Seventh Island Games.
My committee and staff have been fully involved in the planning and administration of the Games and in supporting the Island Games Association of Jersey to host this prestigious event.
We have sought to provide first class facilities for the Games. It is a measure of the importance the States of Jersey place on the Island Games that the facilities Jersey has to offer competitors are of the highest standard.
Island communities place a great emphasis on participating in sport and it is always a pleasure to witness the bond between member Islands of the Island Games Association and the friendship developed through the medium of sport.
Our aim has been to involve the whole Island community in the Games and we are certain that the tradition of the ‘Friendly Games’ will be maintained.
May I wish you all success in your events and an enjoyable stay in our beautiful Island.
As we say in Jersey: J’vous souhaite tous la bein la beinv’nue, et bouôn succès dans les jeux.
Jean A Le Maistre,
Sport, Leisure and Recreation Committee
Jersey ’97: Everything we hoped it would be
The Seventh Island Games in 1997 was billed as the biggest sporting occasion the Channel Islands had ever hosted and, thanks to magnificent co-operation between the organising committee and Jersey’s politicians and sports community, it turned out to be just that.
Much work had been put into securing the Games and once the bid had been accepted in the Isle of Wight in 1993 the task of preparing for the great occasion got underway in earnest.
Although Jersey at the time was already blessed with some splendid facilities, the carrot that is the Games, became a catalyst for new or improved sporting arenas that will benefit generations of Islanders to come.
Preparing to host all the member islands, and around 2,000 visitors, is not just about bricks and mortar, of course. Getting the Island as a whole to embrace the Games was vitally important, and 28 June was kept to the forefront with the image of the Jersey mascot Lillee the Cow being constantly registered by the general public.
The Games organising committee, headed by Peter Pitcher, were keen that the highest possible standards be met, but with friendly efficiency being the watchword.
The Games Office was opened in 1996, under the control of Mr Paul du Feu, a teacher seconded to oversee the running of the Games. ‘Mr Perpetual Motion’ was there to get things done and get things done he certainly did.
As organisers previous to 1997 will testify, you simply can’t have enough hands willing to help as the number of areas of concern are many - Information, transport, accommodation, catering, stewarding, entertainment come to mind before the actual sporting activity even enters the equation!
Although Jersey were keen to put on as many sports as the member islands wished to participate in, this was not given the blessing of the IGA Executive and the 14 areas of competition were as follows:
- Table tennis
No demonstration sports were allowed.
The great day arrived and was blessed not only with sunshine but also the presence of the Princess Royal, who declared the Games open after a colourful and truly spectacular opening ceremony before a capacity crowd of some 6,000 at the new Springfield Stadium in St Helier.
The ceremony was the culmination of many hours of preparation involving hundreds of willing helpers. It was a reflection of their hard work and meticulous planning that everything went like clockwork, from the moment that the Princess Royal entered the arena at 7.15 pm and left, precisely two hours later. The Princess and her husband Captain Timothy Laurence, made the short trip from Government House in an open horse-drawn carriage driven by Beverley Le Marquand, with the Lieut-Governor, General Sir Michael Wilkes, and Lady Wilkes travelling behind.
The Princess was greeted by the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, who in turn introduced her to Alan Cross, chairman of the IGA Executive Committee, Derek Bernard, chairman of the Jersey IGA, Sport, Leisure and Recreation president Jean Le Maistre and Keith Whitson, the chief executive of Midland Bank, the Jersey Games’ main sponsors.
With the Band of the Island of Jersey leading the way the following islands lined up on the lush Springfield turf behind their own flags.
The visiting islands in the Jersey Games, with team size in brackets were:
- Åland (80)
- Alderney (16)
- Falklands (24)
- Faroes (65)
- Froya (35)
- Gibraltar (130)
- Greenland (64)
- Gotland (76)
- Guernsey (171)
- Hitra (22)
- Iceland (5)
- Isle of Man (125)
- Isle of Wight (140)
- Orkney (89)
- Saaremaa (52)
- Sark (7)
- Shetland (99)
- St Helena (6)
- Ynys Mon (91)
The Princess Royal said she was delighted to declare the seventh Island Games open, pointing out that it was the largest sporting event to be held in Britain this year.
The IGA flag was carried into the arena by eight members of the Jersey team and raised. Two other Jersey competitors, shooter Carol Benest and gymnast James Lucas then took the IGA oath - 14-year-old James reciting the passage in Jèrriais.
The main showpiece of the evening was a colourful and moving display of welcome by 450 Island children. Dressed in blue, white or yellow and waving big bright pom-poms to match, they represented the sea, surf and sand, through which ran members of the Crapaud Hash House Harriers, each bearing the flag of a guest island.
Two years in the planning and rehearsal, it drew ecstatic applause for its architects David and Jean Love.
The evening, compèred by Jersey-born BBC television presenter Russell Labey, concluded with a performance of the Games’ sporting anthem, ‘Reach Out’.
Athletics (Penny Kent); Badminton (Steve Watson); Cycling (Allan Millar); Football (Charlie Tostevin); Fullbore (Denys Le Vesconte); Golf (Clive Dobin); Gymnastics (Julia Falle); Windsurfing (Bruce Willis); Gymnastics (Arthur Falle); Pistol (Bob Blake); Sailing (Jeff Speller); Smallbore (Bob Mallet); Swimming (Gill Militis); Table tennis (Barry Vibert); Tennis (Carmel O’Connor); Volleyball (Deidre de Rue, Denis Le Breuilly).
Games committee: Peter Pitcher (director); Rod Amy (deputy director); Gloria Henry (secretary); Bob McGinnigle (finance director); Peter Tabb (marketing director); David Love (director of ceremonies); Deputy Bob Hill (SLR political representative); Vic Bourgoise (SLR representative); Derek Bernard (chairman, IGAJ); Maurice Lakeman (sports co-ordinator); Peter Fergusson (results and computer officer); Rob Shipley (press and publications officer); Ken Wise (resources officer); Paul du Feu (games office administrator); Derek de la Haye (SLR representative); Gill Phillips (IGAJ secretary); Gordon Bullock (transport officer); Phil Austin (area manager, Midland Bank); Mike Tait (press officer); Sarah Frost (Midland Bank, marketing); Senator Jean Le Maistre (president, SLR); Cliff Mallett (vice-chairman, IGAJ).
Games administration (Springfield): Paul du Feu, John Oxley, Rebecca Traisnel, Mike Shearer, Gabrielle Liddiard, Ian Robins.
THE SPORTING HIGHLIGHTS
THE final night of partying after the Island Games - the biggest-ever sporting event held in Jersey - was the epitome of what a major international contest should be all about.
As people of many nationalities danced the night away it all fitted into place.
Good humour, not a little courage, graciousness to the opposition and sheer amateur enthusiasm, notably missing from modern championships, were all in evidence during the six days of competition.
Whether it was the shooters of St Helena being lent rifles by Jersey colleagues or being tutored in archery on rainy evenings by the Island’s experts, the camaraderie invoked by the Games was invigorating.
Especially outstanding was the team spirit in the Jersey swimming camp as they entered the arena.
The atmosphere was electric at Fort Regent pool every single time the Island’s young guns went for it to the accompaniment of George Michael/Andrew Ridgley records.
And the Island’s outstanding talents, led by captain Simon Militis - what a year it’s been for him - Jonathan Marshall, Samantha Chaperon and Richard Phillips, ended up saying wham bam, thank you ma’am to a hatful of medals.
Of the other sports, shooting was one of the more serious, with Jersey and the hotshots of Scandinavia eyeing up the prizes.
Veteran Gotlander Peter Nordgren made his mark again, while Bob Blake made the shooting range his own — well, he did design and build it. Derek Bernard shot to success in between duties as the IGA of Jersey chairman and in clay pigeon, Xavier Gotel, Mark Andrews and Andrew de la Cour did the Island proud.
Perhaps home advantage counted most in golf, where Jersey took every medal bar the silver in the men’s individual.
The archery events saw Jersey’s Janet Le Sueur pick up silver just a couple of years after taking up the sport, while in the table tennis the heroic efforts of stars such as Bruce Gallichan, Frank Bougeard and Eugene Ellis would never be enough to contain the talents of the Isle of Wight’s England professional Carl Prean.
Joy for Jersey came in tennis too, with individuals and teams attaining various gold-silver medal positions. Twice champion Jeremy Cross picked up bronze in the men’s singles, allowing sibling rivalry in the final between Ålanders Peter and Niclas Forsstrom. Victory went to Niclas.
Saaremaa, an island off Estonia, offered its most talented cyclist, Andres Lauk, in a duel around the streets of St Helier with the Isle of Man’s time trial winner Andrew Roche. The event was memorable for its fair share of bumps and bangs. The 35km women’s event saw silver success for the Island’s Suzanne Munns.
On water, windsurfer Aaron Williams dominated the event for the Isle of Wight, while in the laser standard rig Andrew Jones came through with gold for Jersey, and Jersey Red won silver in the match race.
Athlete Ann-Catrin Nordman swept the medals board at all middle distance events plus the 10,000m and half-marathon, while the Isle of Wight’s Kelly Sotherton dominated the individual events she had already made her own at heptathlon. Kim Godtfredsen of Greenland slashed nearly a full minute off his 10,000 metre record.
Gold too for Ålander Ove Lehto, who lived off a good square meal every three hours to keep up his energy levels for power events such as discus.
The professional way in which the events were organised was particularly apparent here, when winners were decided by 1,000th of a second on a system used at the Atlanta Olympics.
In gymnastics, Jersey took 12 from a potential 23 gold medals including both team titles as Janet Santos, Ben Frith and Martin Shields led by example.
In the volleyball tournament Guernsey convincingly beat Jersey in the early stages and, in badminton, although cheered by the successes of Commonwealth hopefuls Elizabeth Cann and Danielle Le Feuvre, the Island was never expected to win team gold in another event dominated by the Sarnians at recent meetings.
Yet a thrilling final in front of a packed crowd saw the old enemy defeated and was an apt prelude to the biggest clash of them all - on the green grass of Springfield.
Paired together in the same group, Jersey and Guernsey could not create the soccer final that everyone had hoped for, but the outcome of the group match was exactly what the 5,000 crowd wanted.
Lee Bramley, Nelio De Freitas, Yasalde Santos and Adam Greig were the goalscorers in an emphatic victory - which pushed them towards a 1-0 final win over Ynys Môn, coached by ex-Liverpool star Chris Lawler.
What should have been a fitting climax was effected by fatigue from playing five games in six days, and a gentle nudge is perhaps needed to organise the schedule differently next time around.
But these were the Friendly Games that the Olympics used to be - free of hype, over-the-top spectacle and, for the most part, the influence of sponsorship.
Next stop Gotland in 1999!
Seventh General Meeting
Don Theatre, Fort Regent
Thursday, 3 July 1997
Executive Committee elected (1997 to 1999)
- Chairman: Alan Cross (Jersey)
- Vice-chairman: Bo Frykenstam (Gotland)
- General Secretary: Steve Cooil (Isle of Man)
- Hon treasurer: Owen Le Vallée (Guernsey)
- Committee members: John Kjaer (Faroes), Norman Morgan (Ynys Môn), Jorgen Pettersson (Åland)
The biggest news to emerge from the Island Games Association’s sixth Biennial General meeting was the news that the first Games of the new Millennium would be held in the birthplace of the organisation, the Isle of Man, in 2001.
The Cayman Islands and Rhodes had their applications to join the IGA accepted, brining the total number of member islands to 23. It was also decided that islands with populations of more than 125,000 should not be allowed to join.
THE Jersey Games may be over, but the 1997 Organising Committee have one last duty to perform.
Having started the process of planning for the Games with little information on which to base their own efforts, the Organising Committee decided at the outset that they would produce a document - a kind of blueprint for an Island Games - to be passed on to future would-be host islands.
Island Games Association of Jersey chairman Derek Bernard explained: ‘We set ourselves an objective of passing on as much information as possible and each member of the Organising committee will be writing a report on their specific area.
‘However we thought it would be useful if other people involved in the Games, from competitors to helpers and spectators, could also pass on their thoughts and opinions, on things that went well, and why, and also on things that didn’t go well, and why.’
Mr Bernard suggested that those people not so closely involved in the organisation may have a better insight, and be able to ‘see the wood rather than the trees’.
‘I am sure there a lot of people with useful input.
‘We are not just seeking applause or criticism, but rather useful information to help future host islands, so they can learn from our efforts.’
THE Island Games Association of Jersey’s proposal that the Top Island Team Trophy cease to be awarded, was later approved by members at the General Meeting.
In putting forward this proposal, IGA J chairman Derek Bernard said there was a strong feeling that it went against the spirit of the Games to have a trophy for the island winning the most medals, as only a few islands were in contention.
‘There is a big disparity in size between the islands, even though we are all tiny by world standards, and many members take the view that it is wrong to have a trophy which few are in a position to challenge for.
‘It overly stresses the competitive element,’ he said.
The Year of Sport Trophy, as it is known, was commissioned for the first Games in the Isle of Man in 1985 which also coincided with the United Nations Year of Sport.
‘We feel it should be presented to the Manx authorities for them to hold in perpetuity as they were the ones who had the original idea for the Games, were the first hosts and also won the trophy at the first three Games,’ said Mr Bernard.
He explained that they were following a precedent set by the Empire Games - which later became the Commonwealth Games - where an overall team trophy award was eventually discontinued for the same reasons.
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