ISLAND GAMESTHE best yet — that was the verdict from 4,000 smiling athletes as the NatWest Island Games came to a close last weekend.
Organisers had plenty to look back and be proud of this week, as the games ran smoothly, feedback from the other islands was excellent, while the 53 medals the IW secured during the week-long competition was a new record.
IW Island Games Association chairman David Ball said: "There was a unanimous response that this was the best games yet. The other island teams returned home delighted and from an IW point of view, we were thrilled with the support from the community.
"Overall it has been a resounding success."
Thousands of people turned out to watch the 14 different sports, which were contested over six days. At the football alone, organisers estimated that around 10,000 fans turned out.
It was the support of the IW people which struck the loudest chord with athletes from all sides.
And the loudest cheers were, of course, saved for the IW team who pulled out all the stops to win 17 gold, 15 silver and 21 bronze across archery, athletics, badminton, cycling, football, golf, shooting swimming, squash and table tennis.
IW Council leader, Cllr David Pugh, said: "It was very pleasing to see the public embrace the NatWest Island Games and I know many of the thousands of athletes and visitors will be returning home with many happy memories. I also want to congratulate Team IW and, of course, all athletes and volunteers who took part in what was a very intense and exciting week.
"We said at the start the games that they would be the best ever, and I think the IW has certainly lived up to that promise."
• Go to www.iwcpgallery.co.uk to see pictures from the NatWest Island Games