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sport

Orkney Island Games to be held in 2025

Four Orkney medal winners at the 2019 International Island Games in Gibraltar: Taylah and Tegan Spence, Erika Marwick and Alice Tait.

The Orkney Island Games has been pushed back two years and will now take place in 2025.

The 2021 Games, due to take place in Guernsey, was postponed in September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will now take Orkney’s original spot in 2023.

The decision has been reached after extensive consultation with all member islands of the International Island Games Association (IIGA), as well as with the organising committees from Guernsey, Orkney, 2027 hosts Ynys Mon, and the lead sponsors, NatWest.

The announcement follows on from today’s decision by Orkney Islands Council to continue to financially back the Games — even in the event that it was moved from 2023 to 2025.

The council is providing up to £1million of funding.

The organising committee behind the Orkney International Island Games welcomed the news.

A statement said: “We value the collegiate approach that was taken by the International Island Games Association in reaching this decision and we were in agreement with our island colleagues that Guernsey should host the next Games, that the Games should continue to take place in ‘odd’ years and that a two-year gap should be maintained between Games.  

“Now that this period of uncertainty has passed, we look forward to continuing our planning for the 2025 Games alongside the Orkney community. We wish our friends in Guernsey the very best of luck for a successful Games in 2023.”

Chairman of the IIGA, Jorgen Pettersson, confirmed that this had not been an easy decision.

He said: “Although the outcome of the consultation supported 2023, we have tried hard to find solutions in order to do what we are meant to be doing — develop sports within our islands.

“The pandemic has changed our lives and substantially impacted all our member islands, both health wise and economically.

“Competitors have not been able to prepare in the usual way through training and competition. It is fair to say that we all feel disappointment to not be able to meet and compete until 2023.

“Sports and friendship have created legacies, memories, passion and ambitions in all our member islands. We will meet in Guernsey and we will make sure we continue to develop sport in our islands.

“We will now start work with the organising committees to update the agreements with the funding bodies and sponsors.”