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Island Games Rock stars honoured

Island Games | Published:

FLORENCE COX rounded off a stellar NatWest Island Games campaign with one more accolade as she became the latest recipient of the prestigious JEP Bill Custard Award.

JEP Bill Custard Award winner Florence Cox guided the women's cycling team to gold in Gibraltar 2019, after twice being forced to settle for silver Picture: JON GUEGAN

Named in memory of the Jersey Evening Post’s former chief sports reporter, the award recognises not only sporting success but also the way in which it is achieved – most notably through an act of fair play, determination, resilience or bravery.

Gold medal-winning cyclist Cox collected the sizeable salver and smaller replica on the ramparts of Fort Regent during Team Jersey’s Gibraltar 2019 celebration, following her efforts in helping the women’s squad to team gold in the road race after bitter disappointment two and four days earlier in the gruelling time trial and town criterium.

After twice settling for silver medals in the criterium and TT climb up the Rock of Gibraltar, Cox showed patience and grit in the concluding two-hour road race to win individual gold. That result, alongside a bronze for team-mate Rebecca Catley, helped her colleagues to top spot on the podium at the third attempt.

Cox joins fellow cyclist Jason Luce on the list of Bill Custard winners, following his success when the Games were last held in Gibraltar in 1995.

‘It hasn’t sunk in yet … I’m not used to winning awards,’ said Cox.

‘You hear about all the other amazing athletes with all their records and medals they’ve won … I was surprised to be nominated and I thought there would be no way I’d win. It’s really special, especially when you think back to Gibraltar 1995 and what the cycling team did then [with Jason Luce winning the Bill Custard Award].

‘I really hope it inspires other cyclists to keep pushing and women to get into cycling, because there’s not many of us.

‘I’m down in history now,’ she chuckled. ‘It’s great.’

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Also attracting well-deserved applause at the Island Games Association of Jersey’s biennial vin d’honneur were a healthy handful of competitors and officials who contributed to another triumphant outing for our Island.

Swimming coach Nathan Jégou was presented with the Chairman’s Award by IGAJ chief Steve Jacobs in recognition of his efforts alongside the pool – guiding a young squad to four Island Games Records, ten Island records, six Island junior records, 49 personal best swims, 50 individual finals and 28 medals, including nine gold.

Jersey’s swim squad were also celebrating an award for teenager Isaac Dodds – the Jersey Sport Cup for best Games junior, presented by Catriona McAllister – after he pushed Faroe international Oli Mortensen close in the 800m and 1,500m before claiming two silvers. He also won bronze in the 4x50m freestyle.

The Tony Richomme Memorial Award, for a competitor showing and act of sportsmanship, went to pistol shooter Nikki Holmes after she donated ammunition to an opponent to allow them to compete at the Games, only to then be beaten by that same opponent.

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Two awards went the way of Games officials who dedicated their time to the cause.

Executive committee member and rifle team manager Richard Bouchard collected the Gill Phillips Award for his efforts behind the scenes, which included driving one of the Jersey Post on a 2,500-mile round trip to Gibraltar, while Phillip Rout was recognised for his work with the Bob Blake Memorial Award – after arranging charter aircraft for the team and then dealing with delays and cancellations to flights just hours before the Opening Ceremony.

The event – preceded by an open-top bus parade around town for athletes and coaches – was hosted by the States of Jersey and attended by the Bailiff, Sir William Bailhache, the Lieutenant-Governor, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton and Lady Dalton, Assistant Chief Minister Lyndon Farnham, Senator Steve Pallett and representatives from NatWest International, Jersey Post and Ports of Jersey.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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