Jeux des Iles: Island set for Crete

MORE than 20 young Jersey sports people will travel to Crete in May to take part in the eighth annual Jeux des Iles.

MORE than 20 young Jersey sports people will travel to Crete in May to take part in the eighth annual Jeux des Iles.

The Island will be represented in five sports - tennis, sailing and athletics, as last year, with swimmers and table-tennis players also competing this time.

All the team will be aged between 12 and 15 years.

Said Derek de la Haye, Director of Sport: 'Last year was our first experience of les Jeux, and it proved an excellent experience for our youngsters, both in sporting and cultural terms.

Competition was at an appropriate level and it gave them the opportunity to participate against new opponents - and to make friends with youngsters from all over the world.' 'From the Education, Sport and Culture point of view, it is a very good route, for our young people, in terms of sports development.' The development aspect was highlighted when no fewer than 18 personal best performances were recorded among the 12 athletes in the Jersey contingent in Gran Canaria last year.

Les Jeux des Iles - literally Island Games - started in Corsica about ten years ago and is aimed at athletes aged betwen 12 and 18 years.

The events were held for the first few years in the French-speaking Mediterranean islands but their popularity has increased and membership of the organisation has extended to include Sicily, Mallorca, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean islands of Guadaloupe and Mustique, the Azores, Corfu and Crete, Madeira and Malta, with interest also now coming from the Pacific islands, including Tahiti.

The event is held at a different island every year and all the costs are borne by the host island, so competitors just have to pay for their travel costs - and the official language is French.

Last year's event in Gran Canaria marked the first appearance of the two British teams, Jersey and the Isle of Wight, which have both since become full members of the Comité d'Organisation des Jeux des Iles (COJI).