Gibraltar has earned the right to organise the 2019 NatWest Island Games. This is the message from Jorgen Pettersson, chairman of the International Island Games Association, on the Rock this weekend with the members of the IIGA Executive Committee and NatWest representatives who have again committed to the sponsorship of the 2019 games.
The contract was signed in the presence of the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the President of the Gibraltar Island Games Association Linda Alvarez at No.6 yesterday morning.
Mr Pettersson, a volleyball competitor in the 1995 Sunshine Games with fond memories of his time here, told the Chronicle he was very glad that Gibraltar had again taken the responsibility for the games family to host the event.
“We have no doubt that the organisation of the NatWest Island Games will be a great success because of Gibraltar’s ability, will and enthusiasm,” he said.
There are many different reasons why Gibraltar had earned the games, he commented, and one of the most important elements was “the will to be a part of something great”.
The Executive Committee is spending a few days here and will be visiting the local venues and meeting with local organisers who will make the island games happen in 2019.
“They are the key,” said Mr Pettersson who was glad to see Gibraltar maintains its strong sporting tradition.
As he looked back on the first “Sunshine” games he was clear that the IIGA was not looking for a repeat of 1995.
“We want to see new games all the time. There are new sports, better performances and the sports development within the different islands which has been great over the years. Sport does not look like it did in 1995. It is better, people are better trained and better organised, they are expecting more,” he said.
Mr Pettersson confirmed he was confident Gibraltar would deliver.
“On a scale of one to ten, I would say eleven,” he added.
DELIVERING THE GAMES
This was reiterated by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on meeting Mr Petterssson, Jerry Whitsey, Treasurer of the IIGA, Steve Camm, Managing Director of NatWest and Linda Alvarez. The contract was signed in the presence of Mr Picardo by Mr Pettersson and Mr Camm.
Mr Picardo commented it was very positive to see the first important sponsorship agreement signed ahead of the games and was certain the whole community would get behind the organisation of the games.
Mr Picardo said he had discussed some of the logistics of the games with the IIGA and GIGA, the sports which will be featured, the upgrading of the venues which would benefit local sports generally, as well as issues of accommodation.
For Gibraltar, he added, seeing the return of the games to the Rock was important both in “sporting and community” terms.
Government’s commitment, he assured, was multi-faceted and was confident Gibraltar would deliver as well as take it that little bit further to present yet another successful games.
“The challenge for us is to ensure that in 2019 the games will be the best games to date. For the community to see the investment that is going to be made in the sporting facilities (some already programmed) will push us that little bit further and will demonstrate the importance Government gives to sport and how the sporting community is able to rally together and work together with everyone to ensure the facilities are as they need to be by 2019.”
The biggest challenge, he agreed, would be accommodation and Gibraltar needed to look at all the possible permutations offering all there is available on the Rock.
NatWest have been the lead sponsor of the games since 1999 with over 20 years of sponsorship and Gibraltar will be their eleventh games.
“The games have grown and the way we are able to support the local communities where we have our branches is tremendous. You see the whole community enjoy and become enthused with it and we want to be a part of the communities we work in and this is an ideal way to engage in this,” explained Mr Camm.
He said it was also a way of showing and assuring Gibraltar that NatWest was committed to Gibraltar and further evidence of their desire to work with and be very much a part of the community and contributing to it positively through sport.
NatWest will work closely with the IIGA Executive and the local organising committee providing support financially and at different levels.
“These games are in a venue where we have a presence and will expect the branch to get closely involved.”