Jersey supports Games decision

THE decision to postpone the 2021 NatWest International Island Games has been fully supported by Jersey’s Games committee, who will now focus on supporting local sports to get back to full training and competition.

The decision to postpone the 2021 NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey has been supported by the Jersey games committee Picture: ROB CURRIE.
The decision to postpone the 2021 NatWest International Island Games in Guernsey has been supported by the Jersey games committee Picture: ROB CURRIE.

This comes after an announcement on Saturday evening from the International Island Games Association, who held an AGM with member islands to decide the fate of the 2021 Games in Guernsey.

Steve Jacobs, chairman of the Island Games Association of Jersey, said he respected the decision and believed it was the right call for various reasons.

‘Safety is paramount,’ he said. ‘We are all extremely disappointed that the Games won’t go ahead next year but I think the key message to take away from this is that they are postponed rather than cancelled. Guernsey will still be in pole position to host the next Games whenever that may be.’

Jacobs believes that Jersey would have been able to send and support a strong team at the 2021 Games had they gone ahead but said the risk to other islands impacted the safety of the Games.

‘The problem is that islands further afield would have to travel through multiple countries to get to Guernsey. Although the Covid situation in the majority of the participating islands is fine, you have places like the Falkland Islands, who will travel via Chile, America and the UK to get here, which presents a whole host of challenges with varying coronavirus restrictions in each country and the increased risk of the spread of transmission. I think travelling through other countries was one of the biggest factors impacting the decision to postpone.’

Jacobs said that a situation where only certain islands got the chance to compete was impossible due to the community nature of the Games.

‘The Games is all about bringing islands from all over the world together. It is about various communities coming together to celebrate the success of sport in all our islands.

‘The Games could never go ahead if numerous islands were unable to travel or compete.’

Another overriding reason for the postponement of the event is due to the potential financial impact of cancelling the Games at a later date – something which Jacobs feels would have been detrimental to the islands.

He added: ‘If we were given the green light, deposits for flight charters and accommodation would have been put down in the coming weeks. If the Games were then cancelled closer to the time we may have lost out on all that money, which would have a massive financial impact on us.’

Jacobs said that the inability of some sports to train or compete due to coronavirus restrictions would have meant a potentially unfair advantage for some athletes at the 2021 event.

‘We want athletes to be at their highest standard possible coming into competition but some have not had the chance to even resume training, while athletes in the same sport in other countries have, which means they may have been more physically and mentally ready for the Games than others.

‘We will continue to liaise with Jersey Sport to try and ensure local sports and facilities are back up and running and athletes are training and competing at the highest level possible.’

He added: ‘We have been assured full support from the government and Jersey Sport and will have all the backing and resources available to put forward the strongest team possible for the next Games, whenever they may be.’

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