Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Facebook
Logo for NatWest Island Games XV - Bermuda 2013

NatWest Island Games XV - Bermuda 2013

13th - 19th July 2013


For many, a week on the beautiful island of Bermuda in the height of summer would be the perfect opportunity to kick back and unwind, but for the athletes of the 15th NatWest Island Games it was a chance to put months of hard work and training to the test.

This was the first Games to be held outside of Europe, as well as the largest sporting event ever hosted by Bermuda. And with a warm welcome from our hosts, and individual and team performances that will be remembered for many years to come, the event now dubbed ‘The Sunshine Games’ proved a tremendous success.

The opening ceremony gave us a rousing blend of music, dance and fireworks, as well as the traditional Water Ceremony, in which members of each team pour water from their home island into a specially-designed centrepiece in the main stadium.

The small archipelago hosted a total of 1,296 competitors who took part in 14 different sports in an array of venues across the island, encouraged by coaches and team officials and cheered on by eager spectators. The presence of the overseas media not only spread word of the Games’ successes worldwide, but helped boost the Bermudian economy too.

And while Prince Edward and Lord Coe may have raised the Games’ profile in the Isle of Wight, the 2013 Games boasted its own star supporter in former world champion racing driver Nigel Mansell, full of praise for the organisers after watching his son Greg earn third place for Jersey in the cycling criterium in Hamilton.

Over the six-day competition new records were achieved in a range of disciplines, most notably swimming, with 37 records smashed in the magnificent new pool at the National Sports Centre. The Cayman Islands’ Fraser brothers – both former Olympians – accounted for a staggering five of these between them.

In the gold rush the Isle of Man team emerged triumphant, topping the medal table with a remarkable 25 bronze, 36 silver and 36 gold medals – 97 in total, and nine golds above hosts Bermuda.  But the Bermudian team gave an exceptional performance of their own, attaining second place and the largest number of medals the island has ever won at a NatWest Island Games, while Team Jersey didn’t lag far behind, earning themselves an impressive third place.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came during the Triathlon, one of the first events on the Sunday morning. While Bermuda’s heat and humidity were expected to give athletes from warmer climates the advantage, five of the six individual medals were awarded to competitors from the rather less balmy North Atlantic islands – two for Shetland and one each for Orkney, Faroe and the Western Isles.

Meanwhile Bermudian sprinter Tre Houston seized first place in the 100 metres, setting a new Games record with 10.34 seconds. A jubilant Tre said, ‘I can’t ask for more than that. I’m glad for the wonderful crowd – they did a lot to push me through’.

It also proved a record-breaking year for St Helena, scooping its first ever gold thanks to marksman Simon Henry’s efforts in the 10-metre Air Rifle event.

Of course the NatWest Island Games has always been about more than just scores and medals. Its main aim is to encourage sportsmanship and friendship between islanders, and in this the Sunshine Games did not disappoint.

The Games ended on a high as fireworks lit up the sky above the National Sports Centre and representatives from 22 Member Islands danced together at the Closing Ceremony. After a week of intense competition, the spirit of the Games had never seemed so strong.

Sports Minister Wayne Scott hailed the 15th NatWest Island Games as ‘a resounding success, and I think we in Bermuda hit it out of the park. Bermuda has truly rolled out the red carpet and I think this will pay dividends. It was money well spent’.

Jon Beard, Chairman of the Organising Committee, commented, ‘The general public got behind us and everyone on the Island seemed to get involved. It was just a great week. I have to thank the local media, who were unbelievable. The International Island Games Executive Committee and the sponsors NatWest have said it was the best coverage there has ever been for a Games’.

So from the beautiful shores of Bermuda, we head to Jersey in 2015 for the 16th NatWest Island Games.

Thank you Bermuda!