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Orkney to host first Island Games

Orkney, an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland, will host the Island Games for the first time after being granted rights to the 2023 edition of the multi-sport event.

Orkney will host the 2023 Island Games after all 24 member islands of the International Island Games Association (IIGA) voted unanimously to award the event following a successful presentation by the bid committee at the IIGA AGM in Gibraltar on Saturday.

The bid committee included representatives from the Orkney Island Games Association, Orkney Islands Council and EventScotland, on behalf of the Scottish government, as well as local sports associations and the wider community.

Orkney has been a member of the IIGA since its inception in 1985 and for a number of years has had aspirations to host the Games. Saturday’s news will also see the Games return to Scotland for the first time since Shetland staged the 2005 event.

Liam McArthur, a member of the Scottish Parliament and Orkney 2023 bid chairman, said: “The support of Orkney Islands Council and the Scottish Government has been invaluable, while the enthusiastic engagement from local sports groups, community councils and the wider community in Orkney shone through in the proposals we were able to present.

“That community involvement will remain critical as the hard work now begins in earnest. Orkney has all the attributes to be the perfect host for these Games and I would encourage anyone interested in getting involved to contact the Orkney Islands Games Association.”

The event is expected to attract up to 2,000 visitors to the islands as well as providing a number of job opportunities for locals, including up to three full-time positions available in the run up to the Games as part of the event’s organising team.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “Hosting the 2023 Island Games is a fantastic opportunity for Orkney and the whole of Scotland to deliver another memorable, world-class multi-sport event, while enabling local and international audiences to experience what our diverse country has to offer.

“I am pleased that the Scottish government was able to join other partners in pledging our support, contributing up to £500,000 (€567,500/$663,500) towards the delivery of the Games. While further promoting Scotland as a perfect stage for international events, the Games will also contribute to boosting the local economy, promoting job opportunities and creating a lasting sporting legacy for the islands.”

A total of 13 sports – archery, athletics, badminton, clay shooting, football, golf, gymnastics, lawn bowls, road cycling, sailing, squash, swimming and triathlon – will feature at the 2023 edition of the Games.

Held every two years, Gibraltar will host the 2019 Games while last year’s edition was held in the Swedish island of Gotland.