Team Shetland met for the final time this morning before the first competitors fly to Bermuda ahead of the NatWest Island Games.
The 45-strong team gathered for the official squad photograph and to receive final instructions from Shetland Island Games Association secretary Bob Kerr and association chairman Andrew Inkster.
It was also announced the team’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony next Saturday will be half-marathon runner Karl Simpson, from Burra, who has represented Shetland at five previous island games.
The games opening will feature a water ceremony where each competing island brings water from their island to be poured into a fountain that will flow for the games week. Team Shetland water carrier will be swimmer Andrea Strachan who won four gold medals at the last games in the Isle of Wight two years ago.
With final preparations well under way the five triathletes leave Shetland today and will arrive in Bermuda on Monday, giving themselves time to acclimatise prior to their event, which starts at 7am local time on Sunday and is the first event of the games.
The remainder of the Shetland team will set off over the next few days and will meet in Bermuda towards the middle of the week.
At this morning’s gathering Mr Kerr told the team the conditions would be hot and sticky, with temperatures around 80 Fahrenheit (about 29 Celsius). “It is really hot, really sticky, “ he said. “A claggy, sticky heat.
“I would have thought it would have been obvious for anyone leaving the north of Scotland, but please take sun cream and sun hats, and lots of people in Bermuda have said, ‘please stay hydrated’.”
Team Shetland will be competing in eight sports: athletics, cycling, golf, sailing, clay shooting, squash, swimming and triathlon. They will be facing tough competition from 22 island teams from as far afield as the Falkland Islands, Greenland, Faroe and Menorca, as well as several teams from the British isles and Scandinavia.”
Mr Inkster said: “It has taken a lot of work and planning over the last few months to plan for this year’s games. We are happy to now be ready for ‘Bermuda 2013’ and our competitors are now briefed on the plans for travel, accommodation and sports programmes.
“I’d like to thank all those involved in our planning, including the volunteers in the association and local people and businesses who have supported our fundraising efforts, including our overall team sponsor, Malakoff Limited; and Serco Northlink Ferries for their travel sponsorship.”
See this week’s Shetland Times for a preview and interviews with some of the competitors, with more featured next Friday. Once the games begin there will be regular reports and updates available on this website.