Gibraltar, always a vibrant, bustling city, is on tenterhooks.
“The whole place has an air of anticipation,” comments a tourist within a short while of disembarking for the day from his cruise liner. The taxi driver who helps him and his travelling companions into one of Gibraltar’s many air conditioned, comfortable taxis smiles and comments:
“The Island Games are about to start.”
That is a pretty accurate explanation. Whether their trip has been planned to coincide with the Island Games or not, visitors to Gibraltar this month will be in for a sumptuous festival of sport.
The Rock of Gibraltar will provide an iconic backdrop to the Island Games; a mountain swathed in olive green and surrounded by the sapphire of the sea and the blue blaze of the Mediterranean sky in summer.
The Island Games take place every two years and thousands of athletes from across the globe come together to compete in a number of disciplines; swimming, shooting, sailing, basketball, beach volleyball…too many to list.
For Gibraltar, a small, if world-renowned city, hosting the Island Games is an honour and a privilege. For Gibraltarians, it is a wonderful opportunity to be part of the excitement of a world-class sporting event. The preparations have been under way for well over a year, but more recently, visiting tourists may have wondered at the intensity on the faces of the teams of cyclists and runners weaving in and out of the sight-seers as they meander through the streets, or at the call and pull of the rowers out in the harbour. Gibraltar’s athletes have all been putting in those extra hours of training, preparing themselves, giving themselves the best chances possible of a medal win.
Island Game events will be taking place all over the Rock, but the events that tend to draw the biggest crowds of spectators – the athletics and the swimming – will be hosted at the brand new Lathbury Sports Complex, constructed specifically for the Island Games. Built on Gibraltar’s southernmost point, this year’s Island Games sportsmen and women will be competing with the backdrop of the ancient Rock of Gibraltar to one side of them and the mountains of North Africa to the other: a spectacular location.
Tourists calling to Gibraltar in July will simply not be able to miss the Island Games. The anticipation that has built up palpably over the last few weeks will reach its climax with the Opening Ceremony on 5th July and culminate at the close of the Games on 12th July. Those enjoying a tour of Gibraltar will no doubt encounter some of the venues – all of these easily accessed in a quick taxi ride from anywhere on the Rock. And with free access to many of the events, perhaps the Island Games Gibraltar 2019 could form part of your itinerary for a day in Gibraltar this summer.