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Gibraltar 2019: Games lifeline for two 'core' sports?

Sport | Published:

CYCLING and volleyball have been handed a NatWest Island Games lifeline with news that they are still in contention for a spot at Gibraltar 2019.

The two sports appeared to have been shunned by the British Overseas Territory when the bid document for the 18th Games was released, but Gibraltar Island Games Association chairman Linda Alvarez has since confirmed that the decision to only name 12 sports – as opposed to the permitted maximum of 14 – was due to a shortage of time and that later additions may be made.

Sports included in original bid document: Athletics, badminton, basketball, judo, sailing, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, swimming, triathlon, tenpin bowling.

Potential additions: Cycling, volleyball.

With Menorca stepping away from hosting duties in July, the International Island Games Committee gave Gibraltar a deadline of 30 September to submit plans to stage the event for a second time. And, while a lack of facilities has led to the likes of football and golf being omitted, there is still hope for a duo that have been ever-present since the inaugural Games in 1985.

'We were given such a short timescale, with just three months to do it, but now we've been awarded the Games we can look forward to it. We've not finalised all of it, but we're partly there now,' said Alvarez.

'We're not putting anything in that we can't do, so we are just holding back on cycling and volleyball for now because we've not really had the chance to get the relevant people together.

Like cycling, volleyball has appeared at every Games so far

Alvarez, who said the Games Village is likely to be on one of the cruise ships used to house the athletes, also explained the reasons for leaving out some of Jersey 2015's more popular sports.

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'We haven't put windsurfing in because there is no history of it in Gibraltar, and we've only got one football pitch, which is being used for athletics,' she added. 'Jersey had around 12 football matches a day on about ten different pitches, and for us that's just a non-starter ... you can only do what you can do.

'We know it's going to be a smaller Games, but Gibraltar is very small and we're limited in terms of resources. We've put in 12 sports that we know we can definitely do, and there is obviously the possibility that we could put two more in.'

The last time the Games were held in Gibraltar in 1995, Team Jersey – helped by Bill Custard Memorial Award-winner Jason Luce – claimed hill climb gold after a gruelling 4.5 kilometre effort to the top of the 'Rock', while the Island's men's volleyball team reached the semi-finals – a performance which still stands as their best.

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