The visit of one of the 8000 London 2012 Olympic torches to the Falklands has added to the excitement felt in the Islands for the London Olympics.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rebecca Pantaney, had to delay her 5th badminton coaching visit to the Falklands due to her having the incredibly special honour of being one of the 8000 London 2012 torchbearers. The Stanley Badminton Club in the Falklands then felt the opportunity to have the first ever Olympic Torch come to the Islands was too good an opportunity to miss.
There has been much talk about the organisers of London 2012 wishing to create a legacy for Britain and in particular its young people. This is in line with Stanley Badminton Club’s aims whom are keen to encourage young members of the community to play badminton, develop their skills and hopefully attend tournaments around the World.
The club held a fundraising event on 28th July 2012 entitled Olympic Spirit 2012 to raise funds to enable a junior team member to be sent to the next Natwest Island Games in Bermuda in 2013. The target amount of approximately £2,500 was raised.
The event included an opening ceremony with the captain of each team taking part in the evenings quiz and activities parading around the room with their team country’s flag and followed in by Pantaney proudly holding her Olympic Torch and wearing her official torchbearer tracksuit. The torch was then placed on a Union flag stand, made especially for the evening, on the stage in full glory.
Stanley’s Town Hall looked very patriotic adorned with Union flags. Flags of the countries competing in the Olympics had been made by the children of the Islands’ Infant and Junior School and displayed above the stage.
Olympic themed quiz rounds and activities took place throughout the evening and gold chocolate medals were awarded to the winners. Activities were based around Olympic events and included frying pan badminton, netball shots, bean bag shotput, shoeless tug’o’war, blindfolded track race and wooden sheep (who had been given some rather famous names such as Murray, Adlington, Daley, Ennis, Wiggins and Hoy) racing.
Squeezed in between badminton coaching sessions Pantaney with her torch made visits to the Infant and Junior School, the Falkland Islands Community School, Acorns (a group for the elderly residents of the Islands), Scout and Beaver clubs and various workplaces around Stanley. Various local sports clubs also had their photographs taken with Pantaney and the torch. They even managed to hitch a ride on a helicopter and had a photoshoot with the majestic King Penguins at breathtaking Volunteer Point on East Falkland.
Some residents of the Falklands have taken time off work to watch specific Olympic events which are being broadcast everyday by BBC One on BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service). This is a delayed service and as such those who want to avoid hearing the live results must not listen to the radio and warn others not to tell them the result. A common occurrence during major sporting events when England or Great Britain compete.
A handmade Olympic torch was created by the children and teachers of Camp (local word for the countryside) Education which was then sent on a tour of the Falklands and even included a visit to the oil rig the Leiv Eiriksson.
The children of the Infant and Junior School and Camp Education hosted a superb Olympics inspired show in the Stanley Town Hall last week. Put together in just four weeks and after many rehearsals they sang, danced, made jokes, and looked excellent in their handmade costumes.
The excitement of the London 2012 Olympics really has reached the Falklands and I suspect the legacy of the games will also be felt in this small part of Britain.
By Roxanne King - SeAledPR - Stanley