by Catriona McAllister, CEO, Jersey Sport
Summer is always a hugely important time for sport; for bringing people together to support their favourite teams, or to simply enjoy more outdoor activities with family and friends. Community engagement within sport is a crucial factor in its ongoing success. There’s a feel-good factor to watching sports events in-person, being part of the cheering crowd and feeling the suspense and anticipation of the final score.
This summer has been fantastic for Jersey athletes, with Jersey coming second at the Guernsey Island Games with 126 medals, followed by an amazing performance at the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games where they brought home 5 medals, including one gold, two silver and two bronze. I’m incredibly proud of our island’s athletes and have been delighted to see so many outstanding performances across all age groups.
I’m also a proud supporter of women’s sport and am very excited to watch The Lionesses play in the Women’s World Cup final for the first time after beating Australia 3-1 in a fantastic semi-final in Sydney. The Lionesses also played in the final against Spain and had the opportunity to bring home a World Cup football title for England for the first time since 1966!
Sports are often seen as an important part of national identity and, despite globalisation, the importance of ‘the nation’ remains firmly in sport. When our island athletes perform well in international competitions and events, it helps to place Jersey on the map in an international context and raises our profile. And makes us very proud!
“Sport provides a glue which bonds people to their place.” – John Rooney, sports geographer.
Unlike my home country of Scotland where it’s rare to meet professional athletes in person, here in Jersey they’re woven into the fabric of our island and we often have the chance to meet them, listen to them speak or even train alongside them. Their success is our success, and that’s great for Jersey!
As CEO of Jersey Sport, I’m proud to announce award nominations are now open for our 2023 Jersey Sport and Move More Jersey Awards. These Awards recognise and reward individuals, sporting organisations, schools and businesses who participate, coach or volunteer within sport, and those who enable active opportunities in Jersey.
This year, our Awards evening will take place at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel on Thursday 23 November, where the winners of 12 Award categories will be presented on stage with their trophies. Award categories include Sporting Performance of the Year, Move More Group of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, our Local Hero Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, and many more! To find out more about the criteria for each award and to make your nomination before 25 August, visit our website: jerseysport.je/awards-2023.
Aside from professional sport, the summer season is also the time when many islanders take on their own personal fitness or sporting challenges. This summer we’ve seen the 32nd Round The Island Walk, the Accuro Jersey Triathlon, 30 Bays in 30 Days and the Tour De Jersey cycling event, amongst many others. In September, there’s the Carey Olsen Jersey Regatta and Swim Run Jersey, followed by the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon on 1 October.
In addition to celebrating all the islanders who have trained with commitment, dedication and discipline for each of these events, I’d also love to celebrate every single person who’s created their own health and fitness challenge this summer – maybe setting a goal of walking more, improving confidence in sea swimming, hiking a mountain abroad, improving their running performance or taking their children out on bike rides in the holiday.. Every challenge, big or small, is incredibly important to the individual and I’d like to congratulate you on your daily wins and big achievements.
With just a couple of weeks left in the school holidays, and the weather not really playing ball this summer, perhaps now is the time to consider trying a new sport or active hobby that can be enjoyed whatever the weather. Our island has so many amazing clubs and organisations that welcome newcomers of all ages and abilities, as players, volunteers or part of the wider support team – like committee members, sponsorship organisers and event planners. For more information on sports in the island, check out our extensive website at jerseysport.je where you’ll find details of events, sports clubs and activities each month.
This article was originally published in the Jersey Evening Post on 19 August 2023.