The 2013 NatWest Island Games in Bermuda meant plenty of planning and fundraising for those travelling across the Atlantic. The cost of taking part was estimated at more than £2000 per person, but that didn’t deter a good sized squad of thirty heading west.
The main concern upon arrival in Bermuda was the heat and humidity. Temperatures regularly reached more than thirty degrees, making conditions tough for those competing.
After the Opening Ceremony, with golfer Stewart Fotheringhame carrying the Orkney flag and swimmer Eleise Schofield acting as Orkney’s water carrier, the focus quickly turned to the Triathlon at Clearwater Beach, early on day one. Torquil Clyde, Paul Kerr and Bobby Oag were all taking part in the event, which featured a 1500 metre open water swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run.
In hot and humid conditions the boys got Orkney’s games off to the best possible start. Bobby produced one of the most memorable local sporting moments by claiming the gold medal, more than a minute ahead of the second placed athlete. Paul, competing in his first standard triathlon, finished 15th with Torquil taking 18th position. Those combined results gave Orkney the silver medal in the team event, a mere ninety seconds away from gold.
Following the success of the opening Sunday, the games got underway for Orkney’s other competitors.
Orkney’s largest swimming squad for some years featured ten swimmers – and they all performed well throughout the week. There were twenty eight personal bests and one new Orkney record, in the mixed 8x50m freestyle relay. Ross Manson also made it to the final of the 200m breastroke – the first mens finalist at an Island Games for many years.
On the squash court Orkney’s Connecticut based Adam Bews went into the competition with a tough seeding but made it through to the third round, before losing out to the eventual champion. Adam finished a very creditable fifth overall in a very strong field.
The golf team saw experienced duo Sean and Stewart Fotheringhame join forces with young players Sam Parkinson and Michael Schinkel at the fantastic Port Royal Golf Course. In gruelling heat Sean was just three shots off bronze heading into the final round before finishing tenth overall. Michael came 33rd, two shots ahead of Stewart. Sam Parkinson shot a solid final round to come 48th overall – helping the team to 8th out of the 14 entered.
On the water Andrew Leslie was Orkney’s sole sailing competitor. In a strong field he put in some creditable performances before coming in 16th overall in the Laser Standard class.
The local athletics contingent headed to Bermuda with some real medal hopes – and they didn’t disappoint. Thomas Fay took silver in both the 10,000m and, on one of the hottest days of the week, the half marathon. Paul Kerr came in 13th in the half marathon too to give the duo a team bronze medal. To round off the medal success Thora Cant took silver in the javelin with a throw of 37.51.
Sprinter Jodie Drever made it to the 100m final, finishing 8th overall and there were also strong performances on the track, from Magnus Blair, and on the field by javelin throwers Calvin Cooper and the returning Jeremy Smyth. Sarah MacPhail, competing in her first Island Games High Jump, finished 5th overall.
Overall Team Orkney returned with a gold, four silvers and a bronze – placing the squad 14th overall in the medal table. A fantastic effort by a predominately young squad in some of the toughest conditions ever seen at an Island Games.