Glasgow 2014: Manx history at the Commonwealth Games

Team IoM
Forty-six Manx athletes will compete in nine of the 17 sports

In 1958 a group of 10 Manx athletes arrived in Cardiff to represent the land of their birth at the sixth British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

At the time the island had a population of just 50,000 people and rival nations may have been forgiven for thinking the team was only there to make up the numbers - how wrong they were.

Manx cyclist Stuart Slack won a bronze medal in the 120-mile road race which would represent the beginning of the Isle of Man's proud history at the 'Friendly Games'.

The Commonwealth Games began in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930 as the British Empire Games.

After World War Two, several former British colonial territories became independent nations, but some still chose affiliation to the Commonwealth.

To reflect the political changes the British Empire Games was renamed in 1954 and became the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Alexandra Jackson
Alexandra Jackson was first Manx woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal in 1970

The team that represented the Isle of Man in Cardiff in 1958 competed in cycling, athletics and boxing.

Four years later a seven-man Manx team went to the Games in Perth, Australia, competing in athletics, cycling and fencing.

There were no medals, but Roger Kelly achieved three top 10 places in cycling events on road and track.

Cycling continued to be one of the island's strongest sports, and in 1966 Peter Buckley secured his place in Manx sporting history by winning gold in the 120-mile cycling road race in Kingston, Jamaica.

Buckley seemed destined for a successful career as a professional racer, but tragically his life was cut short in 1969 when the 24-year-old died following a road accident while training.

In 1970 the Games were renamed as the British Commonwealth Games and took place in Edinburgh.

Harry Creevy
Pub landlord Harry Creevy will contest his eight Games in Glasgow in the 50m prone rifle event

For the first time the Isle of Man's team included women - badminton player Anne Corlett and swimmer Alexandra Jackson, who became the first Manx woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal with bronze in the 200m freestyle.

The island's next medal came via the rifle of Stewart Watterson at the 1978 Games in Edmonton, Canada, where the event was now known simply as the Commonwealth Games.

After cycling, shooting would bring the island its greatest successes at the Games in subsequent years.

At the 1986 Games in Edinburgh, shooter Nigel Kelly claimed the island's second ever gold medal in the skeet event.

Edinburgh also marked the Games debut for shooter Harry Creevy - so far he has competed at seven Games - a Manx record.

He is planning to make it eight in Glasgow this year.

Fourteen-year-old Niamh Robinson will follow in her mother's footsteps in Glasgow

The 1990 Games in Auckland, New Zealand, did not produce any Manx medals, however 16-year-old swimmer Suzanne Brown represented the island and in Glasgow her 14-year-old daughter Niamh Robinson will be the youngest member of the island's team.

Cyclist Andrew Roche also made his debut that year and this summer will compete is his seventh straight Commonwealth Games road race and time trial.

There were no medals for the island at the 1994 Games in Vancouver but in 1998 there was more shooting success in Kuala Lumpur with David Moore's silver in the 50m prone rifle event.

Following a blank in Manchester, the island had its best ever medal haul in Melbourne in 2006 with Mark Cavendish winning gold in the track cycling scratch race and shooters Trevor Boyles and David Walton winning bronze in the team clay pigeon trap event.

The Isle of Man ended the Games at the top of the table based on medals won per head of population.

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish won the last Manx gold in Melbourne but will miss Glasgow

The shooting and cycling medals continued at the 2010 Games in Delhi, India, with bronze medals for Mark Christian on the track and Tim Kneale in the shooting double trap event.

In Glasgow the island will find itself fighting for medals against some of the world's most powerful sporting nations.

A small island taking on these heavy weights does not seem like a fair fight - but the Isle of Man's history in the Commonwealth Games shows clearly that the island has always punched above its weight.

What will Glasgow hold?

Manx Commonwealth Games medal winners
Gold:1966, Kingston: Peter Buckley - cycling (road race), 1986, Edinburgh: Nigel Kelly - shooting (skeet), 2006, Melbourne: Mark Cavendish - cycling (scratch race)
Silver:1998, Kuala Lumpur: David Moore - shooting (50m rifle prone)
Bronze:1958, Cardiff: Stuart Slack - cycling (road race), 1970, Edinburgh: Alexandra Jackson - swimming (200m freestyle), 1978, Edmonton: Stewart Watterson - shooting (50m rifle prone), 2006, Melbourne: Trevor Boyles and David Walton - shooting (team clay pigeon trap), 2010, Delhi: Mark Christian - cycling (points race), 2010, Delhi: Tim Kneale - shooting (double trap)

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