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Logo for NatWest Island Games VIII - Gotland 1999

NatWest Island Games VIII - Gotland 1999

26 June - 2 July 1999


In the Spring of 1993, Gotland’s Sports Federation’s Board of Directors decided that at the AGM in the Isle of Wight in July 1993, we would notify the IGA of our aim to host the 1999 Games in Gotland. Because Aland staged the 1991 Games, with Gibraltar being awarded the 1995 Games and the strong possibility of Jersey hosting the 1997 Games, we considered that one of the northern member islands should be a strong contender to stage the 1999 Games. Gotland was one of the 15 founder member islands who participated in the First Island Games in the Isle of Man (1985) and had taken part in all the biennial Games since then, and so should be considered as a strong contender to host the 1999 Games.

Gotland were confident that they were capable of staging the Island Games. All six ‘core sports’ and most of the others normally included in the Games programme existed and were represented in Gotland. Structures and venues were already in place, though some would need refurbishing, renovating and brought up to standard in order to meet the requirements for International competition.

At the AGM on 8th July 1993 in the Isle of Wight we notified the meeting that Gotland would be officially making a bid at the AGM in Gibraltar (1995) to host the 1999 Games.

During the autumn 1993 and the spring 1994, we continued with the process of examining the proposed sports, bearing in mind the concept of the Island Games, and also encouraging the Municipality of Gotland for their support which was a required condition for the whole arrangement. In as much as the Island Games fitted quite suitably in the municipality’s long term plans for Gotland we received the ‘go ahead’ right away. To alleviate the accommodation problem we contacted Gotland’s Military Command and received a positive reply. We decided to offer 14 sports including two new ones, basketball and ten-pin bowling. We contacted Gotland’s Tourist Bureau to find out from a tourism point of view when would be the best time to hold the Games and decided that week 26, meaning from June 26th to July 2nd, would be the most suitable time. During the autumn of 1994, the final adjustments were made to our application. This was sent off at the end of that year since the deadline for applying expired on the 15th January 1995. It was with great expectations that we awaited confirmation that Gotland was the only applicant to host the 1999 Games. On 20th July at the General Meeting in Gibraltar (1995) Gotland was awarded the 1999 Games.

Serious preparations began the minute we returned from Gibraltar. An Organising Committee was appointed, co-ordinators for the different sports were chosen and a preliminary budget drawn up and communications with the municipality intensified. Starting 1st July 1997 Thorsten Palmquist, an administrative Director from The Sports Federation of Gotland, was named as the General Secretary on the Organising Committee. After that, the office personnel increased to four members of staff.

Eventually, the Organising Committee chose six different work groups, each one with a specific area of responsibility. The chairman of each respective group was also a member of the Organising Committee, in that way the Organising Committee had full insight to all decisions. Some changes in the Organising Committee were made during this time, but as of July 1997, everything was stabilised.

A very important task of the Organising Committee was to design an overall plan of action; this took a great deal of time and energy. All the committees then adopted this plan.


Gotland’s Sports Federation were solely responsible for the NatWest Island Games, but the Organising Committee had the operative responsibility to carry through the arrangements. The Committee also appointed certain special committees for specific tasks. Furthermore the Island Games Council was appointed with the overall responsibility for the Games. All 14 sports had their own Organising Committees, with a co-ordinator acting as a vital link with the Games Organising Committee

The following members were part of the Organising Committee:

  • Lars Hammarström Chairman
  • Owe Hejdenberg Vice-chairman
  • Ulla Pettersson Municipality of Gotland
  • Karin Lindvall Municipality of Gotland
  • Mats Jansson Gotland’s Tourist Bureau
  • Arvo Keinonen Sports Co-ordinator
  • Susanne Gustafsson Information Officer
  • Anders Larsson i/c Accommodation and Transport
  • Mats Alstäde i/c Results
  • Ewert Gardinge i/c Ceremonies
  • Peter Ahlvin Medical Officer
  • Bo Johansson i/c Finance
  • Thorsten Palmquist General Secretary

From the first meeting on 1996-04-11 until the completion of the Games, the Organising Committee had 34 meetings. After the first meeting was held, several charges were made to the Committee’s structure.

Island Games Council

In order to create an extensive assembly around the Island Games, the Organising Committee decided to appoint a Council whose sole purpose was as an advisory authority and a reference body for other organisations, in case of any unforeseen needs or difficulties which might arise. The following members were appointed:

  • Hans Klintbom Municipality of Gotland Chairman
  • Bo Frykenstam IGA’s Executive Committee Vice-chairman
  • Jan Lundgren Municipality of Gotland
  • Lillemor Arvidsson County Administrative Board
  • Göran De Geer Gotland’s Military Command
  • Biörn Fjärstedt The Church of Sweden
  • Mikael Nilsson Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions
  • Jan-Erik Nilsson Swedish Employers’ Confederation
  • Björn Larsson Federation of Swedish Farmers
  • Per Sjölund Red Cross
  • Lars Hammarström Organising Committee
  • Thorsten Palmquist Organising Committee Secretary

Special Committees

The Organising Committee consisted of six special committees with different areas of responsibility:

  • Military Accommodation Group (MKG) Group
  • Information group
  • Ceremonies group
  • Sponsor group
  • Data group
  • Sports Co-ordinators group

The Sports

The following 14 sports to be included in the 1999 NatWest Island Games:

  • Archery Oscarstenen, Visby
  • Athletics Gustavallen, Visby
  • Badminton Sävehallen, Visby
  • Basketball Södervärnshallen, Visby
  • Cycling Visby and surrounding area
  • Football Visby/Dalhem/Fårösund/Fardhem/Väskinde
  • Golf Kronholmen/Gumbalde
  • Sailing / Fårösunds båtklubb
  • Shooting Skyttehallen/Visborgsslätt/Hejdeby/Lokrume
  • Swimming Hemse
  • Table Tennis Solklinshallen, Slite
  • Ten-Pin Bowling Bowling Centre/Wisby Bowling, Visby
  • Tennis Slite/Visby
  • Volleyball Ishallen/Västerhejdehallen

Participating Islands (22)

Aland, Alderney, Cayman Islands, Falklands, Faroe Islands, Froya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Orkney, Prince Edward Island, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sark, Shetland, St. Helena, Ynys Môn.

Main Objectives

The Organising Committee agreed that the following objectives for the NatWest Island Games would be:

  • That the 1999 NatWest Island Games would be a valuable experience for the competitors who would be expected to comply with the international rules or laws as laid down for each sport.
  • To promote Gotland’s Sport Federation and its ability to successfully host and organise the Island Games.
  • The give the participants and their families a memorable and unforgettable week in Gotland.
  • To bring about a sport and folk festival in Gotland and to make the NatWest Island Games, the biggest International event in 1999.
  • To increase awareness about Gotland and its appeal as an attractive holiday destination.


In the initial stages of planning, contacts were made with the military to secure a large section of the barracks to be made available to accommodate visiting teams. This resulted in a contract being drawn up to provide both accommodation and catering for 1,000. However, extra accommodation was found with the help of a travel bureau ‘Gotlandsresor AB’, and a further 750 places were found in two summer villages, ‘Gustafsvik (500 places) and ‘Kneipphyn’ (250 places). A number of small and larger hotels made it possible to accommodate everyone.


From the beginning it was recognised that transport would be the main problem, difficult to solve as well as being a very costly item. Contacts were made with a bus company and a contract was drawn up giving them full responsibility for all transport arrangements. It was like assembling a complicated puzzle that would ensure all participants would arrive at their sports venues on time. All transport schedules from the Games Village, together with those staying in different places, would need to be co-ordinated to provide an efficient shuttle service within Visby, to and from the various sports venues. This service would operate at regular intervals throughout the day.

Results Service

We decided at a very early stage to make a computerised programme for registration details etc and the results service.

Contacts were made with a local company ‘East Web Communications AB’ who had been responsible for this type of service for several large sporting events in Sweden. The deal was made with this company, who were given the task of developing a programme according to our specifications.

The computerised programme was Internet based so that member Islands could send in their registrations etc, however only a few Islands used the Internet, which resulted in more work in the office for those responding using the conventional methods. Each sport appointed a member with special responsibility for compiling and organising the results service, and in general the system worked smoothly.


The main objective was to create the optimum exposure for the NatWest Island Games, with information being circulated not only to all member Islands but also to foreign journalists. A ‘Nyhetsbrev’ (newsletter) in Swedish was aimed at officials from Gotland, as well as the local and Swedish press etc. One year before the Games, we established our own website on the Internet, which was very popular. The website included all the relevant information concerning the Games, the Gotlands Kommun and the Gotland Tourist Association.

A programme was produced for each sport in both Swedish and English languages. Together with NatWest we complied the official programme that was printed in English. We also created the special Baartil logo and unique Wisby-mail stamps for the Games.

Medical Care

There was good cooperation between the general medical care and the Red Cross services being made available in the hospital Games Village annex, plus accessibility to the Visby Hospital and a pharmacy. There was also a well-organised plan in place to deal with any emergency cases, should they occur.

There were doctors, nurses and therapists available around the clock, cost free, in the Games Village hospital. Through the Red Cross there were paramedics available at each sports venue as well as doctors and ambulances on standby at several of these venues. Massage/treatment rooms were made available for each Island in the Games Village and other establishments.

The Medical Care Group arranged meetings with the Executive Committee regarding the dope testing procedures that could be carried out during the Games.

International Main Sponsor

Financial support was given to assist in the staging of the Games in line with the contract between the International Island Games Association (IGA) and NatWest offshore.

National Main Sponsor

There were four (4) main internationally known major sponsors from Sweden who contributed to the staging of the NatWest Island Games through their product/services.

Official Suppliers

There were twelve Swedish companies/organisations, who contributed to the staging of the NatWest Island Games by giving financial support/products/services to all the different sports.

Local Sponsors

There were also local companies/organisations, who contributed to the staging of the NatWest Island Games by giving financial support/products/services to the different sports.

Press Centre

The Press Centre was set up only a short time before the Games were opened. Two volunteers, both trained and experienced in this field worked full-time from the Centre opening and a third volunteer joined on June 13th. During the Games there were always two volunteers at the press centre to help. A total of 165 journalists, cameramen and photographers covered the Games; these figures were much higher than anticipated.

Opening Ceremony

With the City wall in the background and to the accompaniment of the waves from the Baltic Sea and a gentle breeze, the Opening Ceremony took place at "Strandgärdet", just outside the northern part of the City-wall, on the evening of Saturday 26th June. The brilliant evening sun shone as the 1,858 competitors and 350 officials from 22 Islands from different parts of the world, marched into the arena and were warmly welcomed by approximately 5,000 spectators.

It was a lovely Swedish midsummer evening when the ceremony started at 8 o’clock pm and continued for nearly two hours. After the parade, speeches were made by Mrs Inger Harlevi Chairman of the Municipal Council, Mr Lars Hammarstrom, Chairman of the Organising Committee, and Mr Alan Cross Chairman of the Executive Committee who concluded by inviting the Swedish Minister of Finance, Mr Bosse Ringholm to formally open the 1999 VIII NatWest Island Games in Gotland.

The International Island Games Association’s flag was carried into the arena by eight Gotlandic competitors and raised. The oath was sworn by Niclas Hellgren (athletics) and Jenny Nygren (table tennis) and the Bishop of Visby Mr Biörn Fjärstedt gave the blessing for the Games.

A very warm welcome was given to all competitors, officials and visitors. This was followed by demonstrations, principally based on the ‘Viking’ theme. The Opening Ceremony ended with the Water Ceremony, first introduced in Aland (1991).

Closing Ceremony

The Closing Ceremony was held on Friday 2nd July at Visborgsvallen near the Games Village, and commenced with musical entertainment. All the competitors then entered the arena and lined up upon this occasion along with all the other competitors from their own sports. Then the placard bearer, followed by the flag bearer and four participants from each Island marched into the arena. Water was collected from the fountain by representatives of the Isle of Man, to be saved for the 2001 NatWest Island Games. The IGA flag was lowered and handed to the Isle of Man representatives by the Chairman Mr Alan Cross. The County Governor of Gotland Mrs Lillemor Arvidsson then declared the VIII NatWest Island Games ‘Closed’. Finally Mr David Cretney MHK Chairman of the 2001 Organising Committee invited everyone to the Isle of Man in 2001 for the IX International NatWest Island Games.

Following the Closing Ceremony the farewell party began, and continued until very late! It is always a sad time when such an enjoyable week has to come to an end. A week when so many new friends were made and all of the competitors did their utmost to represent their Island with pride, and the time had come to go home. Hopefully all the participants took with them their own happy memories of a memorable week in Gotland.

General Meeting

The 8th General Meeting was held at the Wisby Hotel on Thursday 1st July 1999, with representatives from 20 of the 22 member Islands, apologies were received from Alderney and Sark. Also present were members of the Executive Committee, Life Members and observers from Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and Shetland. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman took the Chair for the meeting.

The following were elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the International Island Games Association for the period 1999 – 2001:

  • Chairman Alan Cross Jersey
  • Vice-Chairman Bo Frykenstam Gotland
  • Treasurer Owen LeVallee Guernsey
  • Members Jorgen Pettersson Aland
  • James Johnston Shetland
  • Jill Gillings Isle of Man

Geoffrey Karran (Isle of Man) was elected as Honorary Legal Adviser. Peter Ahlvin (Gotland) was elected as Honorary Medical Adviser. Michael Ball (Isle of Man) is to serve as the co-opted member from the Isle of Man Organising Committee for the period 1999 – 2001.

Guernsey was, after their presentation, awarded the honour of staging the X NatWest Island Games in 2003. The Faroe Islands and the Isle of Wight both indicated their plans to bid to host the Games in 2005.

The Chairman gave a vote of thanks to the people of Gotland and particularly the 1999 Organising Committee for staging a very successful Games. He also thanked Norman Morgan and John Kjaer for their services to the IGA on their retirement from the Executive Committee.

Social Functions

Saturday 26th June

Prior to the Opening Ceremony a reception was held in the Governor’s Garden, hosted by NatWest offshore. Invited were the Executive Committee, the Organising Committee, Local dignitaries and sponsors. The Governor of Gotland, Lillemor Arvidsson, welcomed them all. Speeches were made by Mr John Harris from NatWest offshore and Mr Hans Klintbom, Chairman of the Municipal Executive Committee of Gotland.

Tuesday 29th June

Guernsey, who were awarded the X NatWest Island Games at the General Meeting later in the week, held a reception at Clematishuset for the Executive Committee, Life Members, the Organising Committee and representatives from member Islands together with local politicians.

Thursday 1st July

The Isle of Man, who will be staging the next Games in 2001, held a reception, as is usual, immediately after the General Meeting at the Wisby Hotel.


We would like to extend our profound thanks to all our partners, sponsors, authorities and organisations, all the participants, officials and other volunteers who have helped us to stage one of the biggest ever sporting events on Gotland.

A tremendous amount of work has been expended, and all the contributions large and small have been equally important. You are the people whose will-power, fighting spirit and enthusiasm have made it possible to stage the 1999 NatWest Island Games in Gotland.

Our warm and heartfelt thanks to you all.

The Organising Committee, NatWest Island Games Gotland 1999.

Thorsten Palmquist
Geoffrey Corlett

Sports Held

Below is a list of sports held at these games. Once results are available they will be linked below.