<strong>Team effort</strong>: A total of 24 countries are scheduled to participate in 14 sports in the July 2013 Natwest Island Games in Bermuda. Pictured are the Bermuda women's national volleyball team from the 2011 Island Games. <em>*Photo supplied by Andrew Soares</em>
Team effort: A total of 24 countries are scheduled to participate in 14 sports in the July 2013 Natwest Island Games in Bermuda. Pictured are the Bermuda women's national volleyball team from the 2011 Island Games. *Photo supplied by Andrew Soares

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1: More than 1,700 athletes are expected to compete at the Natwest Island Games in Bermuda next year.

Jon Beard, chairman of the Island Games Bermuda 2013 ltd, said: “The game organizing committee sent a questionnaire out in November to member islands to get an idea of the sort of participant numbers that we can expect and to have an idea of which sports each island will definitely compete in and which sports they will definitely not be bringing.

“As a result, and including the Bermuda team, we will be expecting around 1,750 athletes.”

 “This is more than we though we would be getting — this is fantastic.

“All 14 sports have good numbers.”

He said the issues that remain to be solved include finances, accommodations and transportation.

He said there are already bookings for both Fairmont properties and some athletes and travelling party members will be staying at Warwick Camp.

In addition, both Saltus and Warwick Academy will be housing Island Games participants.

“We’ve also been working with CedarBridge. They are going to take everything out of the classrooms and we could host 300 to 400 athletes there.

Advantage

“We are negotiating costs there. The advantage of CedarBridge is it helps solve some of the transportation issue if most of the athletes who will be competing at the National Stadium are up at CedarBridge.”

He said transportation is an issue and trying to move over 1,700 athletes plus their coaches, equipment managers and trainers could wreak havoc on commuters trying to make work in the morning and in the evening.

“Going from the Fairmont Southampton to town is always going to be an issue.”

He said there are no issues with any of the venues or the organization of any of the individual sports.

The biggest ‘concern’ there may be having to deal with the white walls of BHS for badminton as the players have to be able to see a white shuttlecock.

He said while the new national pool has yet to be built he has full confidence it will be completed in time for the 2013 Games.

He said Bermuda’s national governing bodies are “used to organizing top class events in Bermuda so this won’t be a problem.

“I spoke with Donna (Watson, Bermuda Track and Field president) and she has about 500 athletes coming here for Carifta. A couple hundred doing this, is not going to be a massive issue for her.”

He said hosting the Island Games was huge financial undertaking.

“The Games are going to cost around $3.5 million to put on so we have to get out there and make it happen.”

Beard said this would be the largest sporting event ever held in Bermuda. ”This is an opportunity to really show off Bermuda and be proud of Bermuda. More importantly, this is a chance to pull this whole island together and work together for this common cause.”