Scots Compete at the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar

Scottish athletes from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles were in action at the Island Games in Gibraltar earlier this month, competing in a number of the Shotgun and Rifle events.

In Olympic Trap, Shetland’s Bryan Sutherland qualified in second place, finishing 5th after the final.  His team mate, Peter Davies was 24th with Western Isles’ Donald Walker and Iain Macleod 16th and 22nd respectively.  STS Programme Athlete Mike Drever, from Orkney, was 21st with a season’s best of 96.  In the team event Shetland finished 9th with the Western Isles in 12th.

In Olympic Skeet, Shetland led the way again with Darren Leslie qualifying for the final and finishing 6th.  Team mate John Magnus Laurenson wasn’t far behind in 9th place.  Archibald Macvicar from the Western Isles finished 12th.  In the team, Shetland were 5th with Western Isles 7th.

Highest placed athletes in Individual Automatic Ball Trap were Shetland’s Ewen Johnson and Donald McInnes from the Western Isles who were tied in 9th place.  Ruaraidh Macdonald, also from the Western Isles was 15th while Shetland’s Alan Moar was 21st, with Mike Drever one place behind him.  In the team event, Shetland were 6th with Western Isles finishing 10th.

Over in Rifle, Orkney’s Bobby Spence was in top form coming home with two medals – bronze in 50m Three Positions and a gold in Men’s 50m Prone.  Donald Sinclair, also from Orkney, was 14th in the Prone, and together they finished 5th in the team event.  Bobby finished 4th in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle with compatriot Graeme Donaldson 13th, Orkney finishing 9th in the team. Bobby has this to say about his performance and the games more generally:

I was chuffed with my performance at the games, improving on my Bronze medals and finally bring home the Gold for Orkney. The whole competition ran very smoothly, the facilities were world class and the officials were a pleasure to work with - a real testament to the work done by Albert and his team at the Gibraltar Target Shooting Association.

The Islands Games is an important sports event - for many athletes involved, it is their first exposure to a big multi sport games with all the pressures and distractions as its much larger counterparts. The smaller islands can use this as a springboard for their athletes to progress onto the higher stages within their own sports.

Rifle shooting has been Orkney's main medal winning sport for the last 3 games winning 7 medals (1 Gold & 6 Bronze). The island may not have its own dedicated range or training facilities but the club has worked hard to remain competitive for the games.

Fantastic to see so many Scottish athletes out competing, especially with the 20th Island Games set to be held in Orkney in 2023. Asked about this opportunity of the Island Games coming to his back yard in a few years, Bobby commented:

Looking forward to 2023, the Orkney Rifle Club is working hard to have the rifle events included in its home games and continue the success of the past 6 years. This process has already started, firstly with the award from the National Lottery of £7,500 from the awards for all scheme to upgrade the existing facilities from paper to electronic targets, giving all the athletes the opportunity to train regularly on modern systems. The club is also working hard to try to secure land and finances to build a permanent facility both for the games itself and in conjunction with the Orkney Archery Club a legacy facility for the athletes of the future for the games that follow.

Congratulations to all who competed!

Report by Jennifer Ross, STS Performance & Pathways Manager