NatWest International Island Games

International Island Games Association

The International Island Games Association is made up of 24 Member Islands and every 2 years, thousands of sportsmen and sportswomen as young as 13 years from across the globe converge for the NatWest International Island Games and compete in up to 14 diverse sporting events.

The first such games, named the ‘Inter-Island Games’ was held in 1985 in the Isle of Man, as part of their Year of Sport, and brought together athletes from small islands across the world. St Helena, one of the Founder Members of the Games, took part in the inaugural event and were represented by a very small team of 6 who competed in athletics, badminton and shooting. At the closing ceremony, the St Helena Team Manager Bobby Essex was presented with a special crystal vase made by craftsmen of St John’s Crystal (and also donated by them) to reward the team not only for their sportsmanship throughout the Games, but in recognition of the fact that the St Helena team had made a tremendous effort in traveling some 5,000 miles to participate. This recognition was a very popular choice and was presented by Director Cohn Defoix.

Team St Helena 1985
Team St Helena 1985 (L – R):
Peter Williams, Bobby Essex, Neil Young, Colin Plato, Stuart Plato, Colin Thomas, Arnold Flagg

The Inter-Island Games became the NatWest International Island Games in 1998 after the Games secured sponsorship with NatWest International, which now provides financial assistance to host islands to ease the significant cost of hosting such a large-scale event.

In order for individuals to compete in the NatWest International Island Games, you must either be born to a Member Island, or have lived on one for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the Games. Today, there are around 2,500 participants compared to the 700 who competed in 7 sports at the inaugural event. The 24 Member Islands include: Alderney, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Froya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Guernsey, Greenland, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Menorca, Orkney, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sark, Shetland, Western Isle, Ynys Mon, Åland and of course, St Helena!

1985 Inaugural Inter-Island GamesIsle of Man18 – 24 July 1985
1987 Second Island GamesGuernsey10 – 17 September 1987
1989 Third Island GamesFaroe Islands5 – 13 July 1989
1997 Seventh Island GamesJersey28 June – 4 July 1997
1999 Natwest Island Games VIIIGotland26 June – 2 July 1999
2001 NatWest Island Games IXIsle of Man7 – 13 July 2001
2003 NatWest Island Games XGuernsey28 June – 4 July 2003
2005 NatWest Island Games XIShetland9 – 15 July 2005
2007 NatWest Island Games XIIRhodes30 June – 6 July 2007
2009 NatWest Island Games XIII Åland27 June – 4 July 2009
2011 NatWest Island Games XIVIsle of Wight25 June – 1 July 2011
2013 NatWest Island Games XVBermuda13 – 19 July 2013
2015 NatWest Island Games XVIJersey27 June – 3 July 2015
2017 NatWest Island Games XVIIGotland24 – 30 June 2017
2019 NatWest Island Games XVIIIGibraltar6 – 12 July 2019

Note: St Helena did not compete in the Fourth ( Åland Islands), Fifth (Isle of Wight) and Sixth (Gibraltar) Island Games held between 1991 and 1995.