NatWest International Island Games
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.
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 Games||Isle of Man||18 – 24 July 1985|
|1987 Second Island Games||Guernsey||10 – 17 September 1987|
|1989 Third Island Games||Faroe Islands||5 – 13 July 1989|
|1997 Seventh Island Games||Jersey||28 June – 4 July 1997|
|1999 Natwest Island Games VIII||Gotland||26 June – 2 July 1999|
|2001 NatWest Island Games IX||Isle of Man||7 – 13 July 2001|
|2003 NatWest Island Games X||Guernsey||28 June – 4 July 2003|
|2005 NatWest Island Games XI||Shetland||9 – 15 July 2005|
|2007 NatWest Island Games XII||Rhodes||30 June – 6 July 2007|
|2009 NatWest Island Games XIII||Åland||27 June – 4 July 2009|
|2011 NatWest Island Games XIV||Isle of Wight||25 June – 1 July 2011|
|2013 NatWest Island Games XV||Bermuda||13 – 19 July 2013|
|2015 NatWest Island Games XVI||Jersey||27 June – 3 July 2015|
|2017 NatWest Island Games XVII||Gotland||24 – 30 June 2017|
|2019 NatWest Island Games XVIII||Gibraltar||6 – 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.