Gudmundur and Susanna from Faroe Islands. *Photo by Don Burgess
Gudmundur and Susanna from Faroe Islands. *Photo by Don Burgess
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>

Clothing is hanging over the railings and adorning makeshift clothinglines at CedarBridge Academy as the school serves as the main Island Games village.

Country pride can be seen as multiple flags were waving gently in the breeze Friday afternoon.

Athletes from most of the 24 islands are staying in classrooms at the facility on air mattresses, but other than a few minor complaints of the air conditioning running too cold at night and the odd incidence of a cockroach, most could be seen smiling — even if it was with a sunburnt face.

Or maybe that’s Bermuda’s home court advantage — distract the competition with great beaches and warm weather.

Triathlete Gudmundur Joensen from the Faroe Islands said Bermuda is “paradise. The water to swim in is totally paradise. I’m a little afraid of the sharks, but it is very good.”

This is his third Island Games and at the event in the Isle of Wight, he and the other athletes stayed in campers in camp grounds spread out around the island.

Gudmundur said the facilities at CedarBridge Academy, where the athletes were staying in classrooms and sleeping on air mattresses, “is very good because we’re getting to meet the competitors from the other islands. It’s very social and fun.”

Susanna Skylv, who is cycling and is also from Faroe, is doing her fourth Island Games.

“Bermuda is nice and warm,” she said. “We went swimming just now and it’s like an aquarium — it is very good.”

She competed in athletics and in 2009 Island Games won a silver medal in the 10k.

Skylv said the facilities are “really good but it was cold when we were sleeping because the ventilation (air conditioning) was on. This is really good and social because it’s in a school and the start for cycling is just outside (CedarBridge) so it’s really good for us.”

Rune Losseus from Hitra (in Norway) is competing in several middle and long distance events.

Losseus, sporting a bit of a sunburned face, said the thing he loved the most about Bermuda is “the beaches.

“The stadium is also very nice. I’ve been practicing there for the last two nights.”

He said the location of the accommodations were convenient because “It’s a short walk.”

The runner said there were six people sharing their classroom “which is enough”.

Gemma Passmore is from Shetland and she will be competing in Sunday’s triathlon as well as the time trial on Tuesday.

She’s staying in a private home. “They’ve been really, really welcoming and lovely to us. The roads are lovely and the people are lovely. I can’t fault anything so far.”

Passmore said the best thing about Bermuda so far is “the sun. We really, really like the sun. This is a bit of a shock coming from Shetland where it is so cold, wet and rainy so coming here the sun is lovely.”

Teammate Lynsey Henderson is also doing the triathlon and the cycling time trial.

She has competed in swimming in several Island Games before.

As an Island Games veterans she said the facilities in Bermuda “are really new and up to date. They compare pretty well.”

Ian Betts, the Falkland Islands football team manager and coach, said for most of the lads on the squad have competed in five Island Games.

“We’d love to get a medal and with their only being four teams, there is a much greater chance of that. We’re just going to do our best.”

Betts said: “Bermuda is a stunning, beautiful place. The heat’s taken its toll. We’ve come from playing football in the snow at zero, -1 in temperature in the weeks before this. This is a big, big change.”

He said the accommodations ‘were pretty basic, but we’re a pretty tough bunch — we can put up with anything. The pitch is a pretty good pitch. We’re not used to playing on an artificial pitch. We don’t have such a thing in the Falkland Island. One or possibly two of our games will be on an artificial pitch so it will be good training.”

Betts said having most of the athletes at one facility was “certainly good at being able to mix with our people. Everyone seems quite friendly.