Islanders Holding Heads High. Competitors Gain Experience, Project Falklands
The Falklands team at the Island Games may not be in the medals but they are proving outstanding sports men, women and youngsters, and projecting a favourable image of their country.
I've been watching them compete with great spirit and determination -- and been greatly impressed by their gamesmanship, cheered on by a group of vocal Falklands supporters and, sportingly, by some of their competitors with whom they are making useful contacts and future friendships.
I've just come from the swimming competition where Steve Dent, their coach and Community School physical education teacher, told me he was very proud of them. "They are holding their heads high", he said." Every single one of them so far has improved on their previous best", he said. "That's what we came here to do and that's what we have done".
That modest pride was echoed by the competitors themselves. Catching up with three teenagers whom I'd watched in the women's swimming events, I found Donna Triggs, Claire Kilmartin and Samantha Davis all in optimist mood. "We've come here to gain valuable experience" Claire told me. And, with a determined glint in her eye, she said: "This will help us to better next time". "Hopefully!" said Donna . Samantha added: "We are also here to project the Falkland Islands".
That, I can confirm, they are doing superbly. They could not be better ambassadors. As Chairman of the Falkland Islands Overseas Games Association, Patrick Watts, said at the outset, "it is important to remind people that we are still a British territory and wish to remain so. ....We remind the world that we still exist and are not part of Argentina and wish to remain British".
This is an ideal venue to do just that. As well as thousands of competitors, there are hundreds of journalists and broadcasters here from different parts of the world.
Meeting the Governor - former Falklands air commander Overcoming their natural diffidence, the Islanders are displaying the Falklands flag wherever they go and cheering their team mates on, as they did, sadly to no avail, in the football tournament. The Falklands had the bad luck to be pitted against the home team, the Isle of Man, in their very first match. Though the Falklands lost nine-nil, they never gave up from the start to the final whistle, showing grit and determination to the end despite the odds. It was not the biggest defeat by any means. Ironically,