Island Games 2017: 'Strong and capable' Manx team set for Gotland

Isle of Man team
The Isle of Man will be represented in all 14 sports in Gotland

A team of 240 athletes from the Isle of Man will travel to the Scandinavian island of Gotland this week for the 17th Island Games.

The Games, which act as an Olympics for smaller islands, will see 2,500 competitors from 23 different islands around the world compete in 14 sports.

Two years ago the Manx team finished second to hosts Jersey, having topped the medal table in Bermuda in 2013.

Island manager Jill Gillings said it is a "very strong and capable" Manx team.

Chief minister Howard Quayle added: "I hope our athletes will once again rise to the big occasion in Gotland and return home with lasting memories, new friendships and an impressive haul of medals."

"The Isle of Man has a proud record at the event and I look forward to the Manx flag flying at the venues and the medal ceremonies."

Elliot Baxter
Elliot Baxter will carry the Isle of Man's flag at the closing ceremony

The multi-sport event is held every two years and is seen as a springboard for athletes and valuable experience for larger Games.

This year's event features 14 different sports, including golf, athletics, swimming and shooting.

Runner Hannah Riley and cyclist Elliot Baxter will be the Isle of Man's flag bearers at the opening and closing ceremonies.

Both made their debut in Gotland in 1999, with Riley going on to achieve 18 medals and Baxter 22.

Meanwhile, the youngest member of the team, 13-year-old gymnast Lucy Worthington, will be the island's water carrier.

The water ceremony is a unique tradition signifying the importance water plays in island life.

The Minister for Education and Children Graham Cregeen MHK said: "It will be a proud moment for competitors to don Manx colours and represent the island in all 14 sports."

The Games will be held on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea from 24 to 30 June.

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