Friday, February 8, 2008

Come play on our Island - PEI in the running to host 2013 NatWest Island Games
PEI in the running to host 2013 NatWest Island Games
The Journal Pioneer

Prince Edward Island's bid has been submitted to the International Island Games Association to host the NatWest Island Games, June 29 to July 6 in 2013. Now that the Island Games Association of PEI has the support of the Government of Prince Edward Island, the association will continue to promote our Island's attributes to the member islands before the final vote takes place June 28.

Prince Edward Island would host 14 sports; over 3,000 athletes, more than the Olympic Winter Games; roughly 2,000 spectators and at least 30 international media organizations.

PEI had its largest ever group of 60 athletes compete in the 2007 NatWest Island Games in Rhodes, Greece, and came home with four gold, five silver and seven bronze medals. The Island placed 13th in a group of 25 participating islands.

Ashley Caulier of Brooklyn participated on the soccer team in Rhodes last year and can't say enough about the experience.

"The cultural experience is one that I will always remember. I am still in communications with many of the new friends that I met.

"It would be an honour to host the Games in 2013 and have these athletes from the other 24 islands see Prince Edward Island. I would be so proud to show them our beautiful Island."

Prince Edward Island is competing against Bermuda for the 2013 NatWest Island Games. Even though Bermuda is very well known, Prince Edward Island will have all the state-of-the-art athletic facilities that are required in place subsequent to the 2009 Canada Games and will offer more direct and cheaper air connections than Bermuda. Also, proposed dates are at the end of the school year, whereas Bermuda is proposing April, which would be more challenging for member-island organizers.

Prince Edward Island was the first North American island to join the International Island Games Association.

Between now and June, the Island Games Association of PEI plans to launch a sustained marketing campaign to educate the voting islands more about Prince Edward Island, highlighting our organizational capabilities, our facilities, scenery, food and culture. The slogan for the campaign is "An Island of memories awaits your arrival."
Come play on our Island
The Journal Pioneer

Islanders tend to have many similar traits, no matter what hemisphere those islanders might hail from. So having over 2,000 of them from all over the world converge on our Island would surely mean plenty of fun and games, plus a lot of camaraderie.

The Island Games Association of P.E.I. is working to make this happen.

The group responsible for putting in a bid for the 2013 International Island Games met in Summerside earlier this week to review their progress thus far and plan their next course of action. The P.E.I. contingent is competing against Bermuda for the chance to host the games five years from now.

The Island Games take place every two years on one of 25 member islands worldwide. Since the first games in 1985, the event has grown significantly in stature and popularity, especially on our Island.

Last year, the P.E.I. team sent 64 participants. They brought home 16 medals, ranking them 11th in medal totals. Josh Ballem even set an International Island Games record in swimming.

The games offer an opportunity for young sportsmen from small island communities to get a taste of international competition against other athletes of similar calibre. Being from a small province, like other small islands globally, it is difficult for P.E.I. athletes to compete with other provinces with larger populations and larger pools of funding from which to draw.

Besides giving these non-elite athletes a chance to compete internationally, the Island Games also involve a festival aspect. The Games are a venue for cultural exchange and social interaction between young people as well as the maybe not-so-young organizers. Friendships are formed between the fellow islanders.

The participants also have the opportunity to travel the globe, with last year's participants getting to spend a week or so on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Guernsey and the Isle of Man have both hosted the games twice. In order to ensure the Island Games remain truly international, they've got to go around the globe. P.E.I. would bring the games to North America for the first time. Bringing over 2,000 people would certianly be a boost to tourism, too.

With new facilities and improvements being made to prepare P.E.I. for hosting the Canada Games in 2009, these Island Games would put these facilities to good use. If the local committee is successful in their bid, it would enhance Summerside's reputation for being "the sports hosting capital of the world".

1 comment:

G said...

I'd have said more than 2,000 - we had somewhere around 4,000 with all the volunteers, spectators, athletes and officials :) It would be go to North America to see the games too!