2015 Island Games opening ceremony takes place in Jersey

The opening ceremony of the 2015 Island Games
It is the second time that Jersey has held this Island Games

The 16th Island Games have begun in Jersey after an opening ceremony attended by 6,000 people at St Helier's Howard Davis Park.

The week-long games has over 2,700 athletes from 24 islands around the world such as Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Bermuda and Guernsey competing.

It is the biggest sporting event ever held in the island.

Jersey, which last held the games in 1997, has spent £1.9m organising the event and renovating sports venues.

"The people of Jersey are right behind the 2015 NatWest Island Games," Jersey's Bailiff William Bailhache said as he declared the games open.

"Competitors, officials and supporters are all hugely welcomed to our island."

Jersey won the right to host the games in 2010, and the work of the organisers was praised by the chairman of the International Island Games Association, Jorgen Pettersson:

"The organising committee of the NatWest Island Games in Jersey is a great example of dedicated work and the joy of togetherness.

"Our games today is a huge challenge for any host, thank you Jersey, you have taken responsibility and you have contributed to taking our games to the next level.

"We have arrived in Jersey as competitors, let's make sure we leave as friends," he added.

2015 Island Games in numbers
2,710 athletes taking part in 14 sports, competing for 1,664 medals32 venues will host 900 events around the island
Jersey has the largest team, with 264 athletes, with the smallest being the Norwegian island of Froya, who have sent just five athletesThere are 769 officials overseeing the events, helped by 400 volunteer Games Makers
Jersey becomes the fifth island to hold the games for a second time after the Isle of Man, Guernsey, Aland and the Isle of WightThe Falkland Islands have had the longest journey to the games, travelling 7,744 miles (12,464 km)

The highlight of the ceremony was the water ceremony, where each competing island brings water from their homeland which is mixed together as a sign of friendship.

Action begins on Sunday with the first medals being awarded in the half marathon, which is being raced around the south-east of Jersey.

There are also medals in the cycling time trial and triathlon up for grabs, while the first group matches in the football tournament are also being held at grounds around Jersey.

Island Games big screen in Liberation Square
People who could not get tickets for the ceremony watched on big screens around the island
Jersey's team at the 2015 Island Games opening ceremony
Volleyball player Nikki Appleton, who is competing in her 12th Island Games, carried Jersey's flag into the opening ceremony
Alderney have not won an island Games medal since 2005
Alderney have not won an Island Games medal since 2005
Guernsey's athletes at the Island Games opening ceremony
Members of Guernsey's team have had the shortest journey of any visiting team at the Island Games
The Isle of Man topped the medals table at the last Island Games in Bermuda in 2013
The Isle of Man topped the medals table at the last Island Games in Bermuda in 2013
The Isle of Wight were the last British island to host the island Games in 2011
The Isle of Wight were the last British island to host the Island Games in 2011
Sark Island Games team
Sark, with less than 600 inhabitants, is the smallest island competing at the Island Games

Top Stories