Runner Emma Leask claimed Team Shetland’s first piece of athletics glory at the 2013 NatWest Island Games in Bermuda on Tuesday night.
She scooped a silver medal in the women’s 400m in an excellent time of 58.59 seconds.
Emma crossed the line more than a second ahead of third-placed Bermudan Rachel Fox, and 0.43 of a second behind winner Hazel Le Cornu of Jersey.
It is the first time she has won a games medal in the 400m individual event, though she was part of the 4x400m relay team that took bronze in Aland in 2009.
“[It was] a really tough race considering the conditions,” Emma said afterwards. Even by 9pm Bermuda time, the temperature was still as high as 27C.
Knowing Le Cornu was the “one to watch”, the Shetlander “went out hard in the first 200 so that I would be in contention in the last 100”.
Emma added she was: “A bit disappointed with the time but happy with how the race went, [and I] would like to thank coaches, friends and family for all their help and support.”
She has won 800m gold in the past two games, and will be looking to make it a hat-trick with the heats to come on Thursday – hopefully followed by Friday’s final.
On the whole it was another very successful night which saw Team Shetland’s medal haul bolstered to the tune of one gold, two silvers and two bronzes. Supplementing Emma’s silver were squash and swimming successes for the second night running.
The team now has three golds, five silvers and three bronze medals. Shetland has slipped from eighth to 10th in the overall table. That is because, while Saremaa and the Western Isles have only won six and five medals respectively compared to 11 for Shetland, both have won a total of four golds.
Felix Gifford and Andrea Strachan repeated their medal heroics on the second day of competition at the outdoor pool.
There was a second gold of these games for an on-fire Felix in the 400m individual medley.
His time of 4:25.40 was over five seconds faster than second-placed Gibraltar swimmer Colin Bensadon. He then took bronze in the 200m freestyle, a comfortable two seconds clear of fourth-placed Gustav Carlsson of Aland.
Only Gotland’s Ida Sandin, who aged 27 is a relative veteran among the swimmers and competed in Shetland eight years ago, could prevent Andrea taking a second gold medal. She had to make do with silver in a time of 2:18.67.
Amy Harper was not far off a medal in the women’s 50m butterfly. Her time of 29.50 seconds was 0.3 seconds behind Bermudan bronze winner Rebecca Heyliger.
Amy was part of the women’s 4x50m relay team which came agonisingly close to a bronze medal. She, Andrea, Emmie Hutchison and Megan Petursdottir swam a combined time of 2:01.92 – leaving them 0.03 of a second behind the third-placed Jersey quartet.
The men’s team of Felix, Calum MacColl, Callum MacGregor and Jake Swanson weren’t far off the medal pace either. Their 4x50m relay time of 1:35.01 was also enough to finish fourth, under two seconds behind Jersey’s men.
Team manager Lesley Hutchison was chuffed with the swimmers taking one medal of each colour, along with several near misses.
“[There were] some great individual personal bests in the relays,” she said. “[The] relays were so exciting!”
After Monday night’s silver for Joan Smith, a veteran of six island games, there was to be more joy on the squash courts for Team Shetland. She paired up with Kerry Pottinger, who had finished fourth in the singles, for the women’s doubles competition.
They lost 15-8, 15-10 to Guernsey duo Natalie Dodd and Katherine Jensen in the semi final. But Kerry and Joan went on to overcome Bermudans Denise Kyme and Liz Martin on their home turf in the play-offs, winning a tight first set 15-10 before comfortably taking the second 15-6 to clinch the bronze medal.
Kerry then teamed up with Ramsay Hogg for the mixed doubles, where they lost out to Guernsey pair Laurence Graham and Natalie Dodd in two sets – 15-10, 15-8.
Defending champion Christine McLean was desperately unlucky not to win a medal in the women’s time trial.
Her time of 57:48.458 was less than half a second behind the third-placed Faroese cyclist Susanna Skylv Sorensen, and only five seconds behind Jersey silver medallist Susan Townsend – small margins in a race lasting just under an hour.
Fresh from her success in Sunday’s triathlon, Lynsey Henderson came 13th in 1:02.00.148, while Gemma Passmore bravely recovered from a fall to complete the course in 1:07.16.548.
Men’s cyclist Peter Fenwick said Christine had been “really unlucky” not to grab a medal: “She did well on a course that didn’t really suit her, and the top three places were separated by small gaps,” he said.
“Lynsey had a good ride – ‘nice morning out’ was her quote – and Gemma continued like a trooper after a crash to finish the race.”
Carlos Riise finished sixth in the men’s time trial in a time of just over one hour – 11 seconds off the bronze medal pace. Teammates Peter, Robin Atkinson and Scott Jamieson came 11th, 20th and 25th respectively out of 38 starters.
Peter, who bagged a bronze medal in the triathlon on Sunday, said he was personally pleased to come close to a top ten finish. Carlos had enjoyed a strong race, but “the guys ahead of him were very strong as well – a longer course would have helped him”.
“The others all did well,” Peter said. “Robin had a good ride on a converted roab bike; Scott did amazing after mountain biking last night.”