With three weeks until the 2023 Ynys Môn team head south and across the English Channel to Guernsey we’re going to take a look at Records (Island Records), Regulars (Competitors who are back) and our previous trips to Guernsey (1987 and 2003).
Ynys Môn had a brilliant Island Games in Gibraltar in 2019 with 15 Island Records broken across Athletics and Swimming. Two gold medals, one silver and three bronze from Athletics, Sailing and Swimming. It also gave a number of new competitors a taste for the Games.
But how will Guernsey 2023 compare?
Records are there to be broken and from the events Ynys Môn are entered into these are the Ynys Môn Island Games records we could see broken:
The Athletics team especially have some very exciting competitors who’ve represented Wales and GB. Some of these records will definitely be at risk and even some of the Island Games records. Watch out for the Men and Women’s 5,000m!
The men’s half marathon record of 1 hour 11 minutes 1 second is the oldest Ynys Môn Island Games record having been set in 1987 in our first visit to Guernsey.
Ynys Môn will be back competing in the golf for the first time since 2009 and so the men’s individual total score of 279 could be challenged. Another one set in Guernsey but in 2003.
There are some Individual participation records that could be broken too.
Dominic Breen-Turner is returning for his 5th Island Games and if he wins one gold medal in the Sailing it would place him top of the all-time Ynys Môn competitor medal list. Also in the Sailing, Michael Thorne would move up into the top five with a medal of any kind.
Iolo Hughes is back in the Athletics team and is already the best athlete Ynys Môn have had in the Island Games but he could also position himself in the top five of all the sports with more medals in Guernsey.
If we look at Ynys Môn sports at the Island Games then Sailing are out front with nine gold medals, two above athletics although athletics have a far greater total of all medals. Basketball, bowls and triathlon haven’t ever medaled at the Games for Ynys Môn, could this change in Guernsey?
Ynys Môn, on average, win six medals per Island Games. 14 is the most, which were won in Jersey in 1997. The fewest was two at the first ever Island Games in 1985 in the Isle of Man.
But it’s not all about medals and records. There are plenty of young competitors going to Guernsey for their first Island Games. They’ll learn a lot and pick up valuable experience hopefully preparing them for Orkney in two years’ time.
We welcome back a number of regular Island Games competitors to the squads for Guernsey. Some have been present at the last two or three editions of the Games. Others are back after a much longer absence.
Ffion Roberts is back for her second Island Games after picking up a bronze medal and Island Record in Gibraltar. She’s an exciting talent on the track. This year already she’s produced a PB in the 400m of 54.36 which is just one second off the Island Games Record.
Basketball is returning for Ynys Môn after a 15 year break. Adam Williams, Sion Parry, Neil Williams and Ioan Nickleson are all back having represented the island in Rhodes 2007. Adam, Sion and Neil were also at IOM 2001 and Guernsey 2003.
Indoor bowls is back and so too Adrienne Edwards and Nia Roberts who both competed in Shetland in 2005.
In cycling Gwenno Hughes, who had a fantastic first Island Games in Gotland coming so close to a medal in both the Town Centre Criterium (4th) and Time Trial (5th), is six years more experienced and ready to take on the challenge once again. She is definitely one to watch!
Gareth Owen who has been known for his part in the men’s football team at five Island Games is now a part of the golf team and has an impressive handicap. He and other three golfers will be aiming to bring that first medal to the golf team.
There are many more regulars back for their 2nd, 3rd 4th or even more Island Games but we can’t name everyone.
Returning to Guernsey
Guernsey will become the first island to host the Games three times when we all descend on the Channel Island this summer. They were the second ever hosts back in 1987 and then 16 years later in 2003.
Ynys Môn took teams in 6 different sports to the 1987 event. Archery and athletics both made their first appearance while badminton, cycling, swimming and volleyball were all returning after the first edition. It was a great start for the archery and athletics teams both winning three medals each. Two silvers and one bronze for archery thanks to Diane Jones in her only appearance and one silver and two bronzes for athletics.
Almost two decades later we took 11 sport teams to the 2003 Games. Volleyball was out but basketball, football, golf, gymnastics, sailing and triathlon were all in. Surprisingly it was another six medals. Archery again on the medal table but this time with their first ever gold medal. Shooting also came away with one gold. Gymnastics won a bronze and then swimming won the other three. A gold and bronze for David Roberts and a bronze for Claire Wilson both high up on the all time medal winners list for Ynys Môn.
So it looks like a total of six medals is likely this summer if we go by previous form on Guernsey. Whatever happens it’ll be a fantastic competition and takes us ever closer to hosting the Island Games ourselves.