The Guernsey2023 NatWest International Island Games is just days away. Whether you’re a spectator, volunteer, or athlete, the event will probably touch the lives of every island resident, so we thought we would answer some frequently asked questions:
When are the Games?
Guernsey2023 is happening from 8 July till 14 July. The opening ceremony will take place along the Town seafront and it will be a heart-pumping, music-filled spectacle. One of the highlights will the parade of the 2,194 athletes from North Beach to the Albert Pier.
The seafront will be closed from 4pm on Saturday 8 July, with entertainment starting from 5pm. The ceremonial element will include the symbolic mixing of the waters, which is the Island Games’ equivalent of the lighting of the Olympic flame.
Closer to the time we will organise a sneak peek of an opening ceremony rehearsal. The opening ceremony will set the tone for the whole event, so we’re really keen for members of the public to come out, watch, wave, and cheer.
Do I need tickets?
No. The opening ceremony and all of the sports events are free for spectators to come and watch. Therefore, there are no tickets at all. Part of the ethos of the Games is that they are accessible to everyone and we’d love to see you there.
Please bear in mind that there are a few venues where audience capacity may be reached at certain points, and marshals may have to temporarily restrict entry. In particular, the viewing gallery overlooking the Beau Sejour swimming pool is fairly small. However, we are organising extra seating alongside the pool, and the Beau Sejour theatre will have a big screen showing the live swimming races.
Is there a programme of events?
Yes. The outline programme is available here.
We’re currently in the process of adding further details to the programme which will give a full breakdown of all heats, races and matches along with their timings, so check back in a few days’ time.
In total there are 205 events across the six days of live sport, encompassing approximately 480 heats, races, and matches.
Where are the venues?
The venues are dotted all around the island. Our venues section has information about all the venues, including car parks, bus routes, toilets, and catering facilities.
Which sports are involved?
There are 14 sports in Guernsey2023. They are archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, bowls, cycling, football, golf, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and triathlon.
Find out more about each sport, such as its history within the Games, previous results, and by-laws.
Will there be road closures?
Yes, but not many! We are committed to creating an environment where people can enjoy the Games events, whilst also being able to go about their day-to-day activities.
There will be some short temporary road closures in order to ensure the safe and smooth running of the road-based events (cycling, triathlon, and the half marathon). In total, there are three races that require road closures around the west coast and upper parishes, and a further three races that necessitate the closure of the Town seafront. The opening ceremony will also take place on the Town seafront, and the closing ceremony will see Foote’s Lane closed.
Volunteers have done a letter and leaflet drop to the homes and businesses affected by the road closures, to give people plenty of time to plan ahead and further letter drops are currently taking place. During a road closure, pedestrian access will be maintained at all times, and people can walk pedal bikes along the routes.
How do I get to venues?
It is inevitable that there will be some traffic disruption during the week. The Games have not been hosted by Guernsey since 2003, and we are proud to be the first island to host for a third time, so we’re appealing to people to bear with us for the week of the Games. So far, the reaction has been overwhelming positive and many residents living along the routes of the road events will be taking the opportunity to watch top-class sport right on their doorstep.
We’re encouraging walking, cycling, taking the bus, and car-sharing during the Games week. The good news is that the buses will be free (except the late-night Friday and Saturday buses). Extended cycle park areas will be available, and there will be ‘park and stride’ points around St Peter Port.
The Health Improvement Commission and organising committee will soon be releasing their active travel plan for the week. This will include dedicated Games bus routes for competitors and those with an accreditation pass. These routes will loop between accommodation and venues throughout the day.
Where possible, we are asking employers to allow their employees to work from home, in order to ease commuter congestion.
Which islands are competing?
The 24 islands are dotted across the globe – from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic to the Caribbean. The home page of our website has links with details on each island, including maps, population, main language spoken, and history.
Can I watch events online?
Guernsey2023 will be the most connected Games ever. Many sports will be livestreamed through this website. We have special software that will provide an up-to-the-minute results service showing results just in, rolling results, medal winners, and the medal table.
How can I show my support for the Games?
The tagline of Guernsey2023 is ‘inspiring islanders’, and it’s been very heartening to see local community groups embracing this message and organising special Games-themed events. Sport is not just about elite participation, it’s for everyone. We can all take pleasure from the recreational and social joy of sport.
One great way to support the Games is by decorating your home, business, shop, hotel, pub, residential home, or school, with flags and bunting. If you’re feeling competitive you could even enter our ‘decorate your place’ competition to win a cash prize. All the details are here:
How are the organisers feeling with one month to go?
Excited, nervous, confident, stressed, optimistic, sleep-deprived, energised – we’ve been through it all! The pressure is on, but everything is progressing well and we’re putting together all the final details. There will always be a few setbacks in organising a big event, but it’s important to focus on the big picture and be resilient. We are ready to welcome other islanders from around the world to our island.
One encouraging aspect is there’s a very palpable sense that the community is excited about the Games. We’re getting lots of enquiries about the events and the opening ceremony, there’s a sense of collective pride in the Games.
It is important to acknowledge the 1,200 volunteers, because they are the backbone of the Games. In particular, the sports coordinators are doing an immense amount of work behind the scenes. We must also thank our generous sponsors – without their support, the Games would simply not happen. They are all champions in our eyes.
Is there official Games merchandising?
Yes, we have a range of t-shirts, hoodies, caps, and sports towels that will be on sale through this website, and at pop-up venues across the island. The merchandising is excellent quality and affordable. We’ve already done a soft launch, and some of the lines have sold out, so we’ve ordered more.
What else do I need to know?
We have plenty of news, information, and updates coming ahead of the event. The website is being updated all the time, so keep popping back to find out more. Our social media channels are a good place to stay on top of everything:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/guernsey2023
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/guernsey2023
The mainstream media is hugely important to the overall success of the Games, and we are very grateful to the Guernsey Press, Bailiwick Express, BBC Guernsey, ITV Channel, and Island FM, for their support. Their expertise and insight into the sports and athletes means they can offer in-depth analysis, immersive storytelling, innovative graphics, and stunning photos. They will be reporting what happens on the ground beyond just the results.
We currently have 148 accredited journalists and photographers (62 from Guernsey, 27 from Jersey, and 59 overseas). The role of our volunteer media coordinators will be to assist the media at the 25 venues.
What happens after the Games?
The legacy of the Games will go well beyond the field of play, so it doesn’t just all stop on 14 July. The aim of the youth programme is that every child in Guernsey should have the chance to watch, learn, and be excited about the Games. It can be a catalyst to inspire young people to reach for their full potential, and live happier, healthier lives.
For the athletes it can be a life-changing experience and they will forge friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. The Games represents the pinnacle of island sport, and can be a springboard for national, international, and Olympic competition.
Guernsey has always had a strong volunteer culture with committed islanders who don’t hesitate to get involved. However, some of our volunteers are first-timers and we hope that they will be inspired to continue giving back.
Our technology partner Sure is upgrading all of the sporting venues with up to 60x faster broadband speeds. Technology and sport go hand-in-hand these days, so this will be an important enhancement for the island’s sports clubs.