What do Bermuda, The Falklands, Minorca and Sark have in common? If you said "they are all islands,"
then you would be correct but what you probably didn't know is that this week Bermuda and 24 other of the world's islands are competing in the bi-annual Island Games
, a Swedish speaking archipelago in the Baltic Sea that actually belongs to Finland.
Over 3,000 athletes will take part in 15 events including track and field, tennis, gymnastics and golf in the week long event mainly centering around Åland's national stadium in the capital Mariehamn
Bermuda only first entered in 2003 but 15 islands took part in the first ever competition held on the Isle of Man in 1985. This year's competitors include Greenland (the largest by area), Isle of Wight (the largest by population) and the tiniest of them all Sark, in the Channel Islands, who have sent just 3 men to take part in 7 shooting events. Population of Sark? 650.
Other islands competing in what I think is a wonderful example of sport are: Alderney, Cayman, Faroe, Frøya, Gibralter, Gotland, Guernsey, Hitra, Jersey, Orkney, Prince Edward Island, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sheltands, St Helena, Western Isles, and Anglesey.
In the past Guernsey and Jersey have tended to come out on top of the medals table. At the 2007 Games in Rhodes, Bermuda won 8 golds and 40 medals overall, and reading the local media
they are not expecting much from their 100-strong squad, which is a shame because Bermuda probably has many more advantages than almost all of the nations taking part, but we will see as the week progresses.
According to the NatWest Island Games website
after the first day of competition the Swedish province of Gotland is leading the medals table
with 3 golds.