Western Isles ath­letes break record for medals in Sweden

The Oban Times - - Sport -

WESTERN Isles ath­letes have flown back home with an im­pres­sive haul of medals from the Is­land Games in Sweden.

The 2017 WIIGA (Western Isles Is­land Games As­so­ci­a­tion) squad re­turned to Stornoway fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful and thor­oughly en­joy­able week of in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion at the NatWest Is­land Games XVII Got­land 2017.

Happy mem­o­ries

They re­turned with a record haul of 10 gold medals, two sil­ver medals and a bronze, as well as an abun­dance of happy mem­o­ries both of com­pe­ti­tion and the beau­ti­ful is­land of Got­land.

And all of the medals were won by women.

The squad also achieved its high­est fin­ish in the fi­nal medals ta­ble – sev­enth – ahead of the two other Scot­tish is­lands teams for the sec­ond games run­ning.

A to­tal squad of 88, in­clud­ing coaches, man­age­ment and phys­ios, rep­re­sented the Western Isles at the bi­en­nial event, with 73 par­tic­i­pants com­pet­ing in eight dif­fer­ent sports – ath­let­ics, bad­minton, cy­cling, golf, football (men’s and women’s), shoot­ing, swim­ming and triathlon. And 35 of the par­tic­i­pants were un­der 20 years old.

The medal­lists were: Swim­ming: Kara Han­lon, 50m breast­stroke, gold; 200m breast­stroke, gold; 200m in­di­vid­ual med­ley, gold; Kathryn Of­fer, 100m back­stroke, bronze; 50m freestyle, gold; 50m back­stroke, gold.

Moun­tain bik­ing: Kerry Macphee, MTB XCoun­try, gold; MTB Cri­terium, gold; Kirsty Macphee, MTB XCoun­try, sil­ver; MTB Cri­terium, sil­ver; Kerry and Kirsty Macphee, team MTB XCoun­try, gold; team MTB Cri­terium, gold.

Ath­let­ics: Eve Car­ring­ton, shot putt, sil­ver; Heather Mack­in­non, triple jump, gold.

There were so many high­lights through the week, but one that def­i­nitely stands out is the gold medal won by young Eriskay triple jumper, Heather Mack­in­non. In a field that in­cluded a for­mer Olympian, she pro­duced the jump her life in the first round to set a tar­get of 11.06m for the rest to aim at – with five jumps to go.

Heather twice beat her pre­vi­ous per­sonal best in a ter­rific se­ries of jumps and still held the lead when the sec­ond last com­peti­tor pro­duced a big jump. The large crowd of Western Isles sup­port­ers feared the worst as 11m went up on the score­board, but when that was fol­lowed by .02, emo­tions were let go and the gold was con­firmed.

Spe­cial

What made this medal spe­cial was that she was able to share the win with her fa­ther, mother, brother and sis­ter who had made the trip out to Got­land.

There were many suc­cesses be­yond the medals, with new tal­ent emerg­ing, per­sonal bests achieved, ath­letes just miss­ing out on medals and per­sonal chal­lenges over­come.

Prior to leav­ing for Got­land WIIGA’s main spon­sor, The Scot­tish Salmon Com­pany, pre­sented the WIIGA squad with their of­fi­cial kit. With costs ap­proach­ing £170,000, the sup­port of a main spon­sor is in­valu­able and con­trib­utes to­wards WIIGA’s ef­forts to make at­tend­ing the games as af­ford­able as pos­si­ble to our tal­ented is­land ath­letes.

Team man­ager Iain GG Camp­bell, said: ‘Our part­ner­ship with The Scot­tish Salmon Com­pany has cer­tainly ben­e­fited WIIGA over the past two games. Friend­ships have been formed and we have shared many pos­i­tive im­ages of our com­peti­tors, show­ing what a suc­cess­ful com­mu­nity part­ner­ship can pro­vide.

‘ We un­der­stand the need for busi­nesses to con­tin­u­ously re­view their pri­or­i­ties but I look for­ward to meet­ing with Craig An­der­son’s team to thank them for their sup­port and pro­vide feed­back on the Got­land Games.’

Craig An­der­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of The Scot­tish Salmon Com­pany, said: ‘A huge con­grat­u­la­tions to the Western Isles team on their fan­tas­tic achieve­ment at the re­cent Games in Got­land.

‘ We are very proud to sup­port this year’s record-break­ing team and hope the ath­letes go from strength to strength at the next is­land gath­er­ing in Gi­bral­tar 2019.’

Sup­port

Many of the WIIGA sports teams re­ceived fi­nan­cial sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses, or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als. To date the fol­low­ing have given sup­port: Charles Macleod (Butcher), Har­ris Tweed He­brides, Enge­bret Ltd, Ishga, Point and Sand­wick Trust, MG ALBA, Lewis Builders, Baltic Book Shop, Uig Lodge, Big Husky Lodge, Maciver Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices Ltd, John Roe, ACES (Elec­tri­cal), Yesss Elec­tri­cal, Sch­nei­der Elec­tric, Obh! Obh!, Hor­shader Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment, Dun­can Mackay and Sons Ltd and Gal­son Mo­tors.

The Western Isles team re­turned with a record medals haul.

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