Early start to beat the heat in Rhodes?

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Jersey’s Island Games chairman Bob McGinnigle was in the Greek island for the three-day visit to the agm.

He explained that the proposal is principally to allow athletes to acclimatise for the competition in anticipated temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius and also, with the number of competitors taking part increasing at every Games, to allow for a full week’s programme of sport.

‘The proposal has been made on medical advice.

The experts say that athletes should be Rhodes by the Wednesday before the event, at the latest – and one or two sports might require longer to acclimatise.

We have traditionally stayed in the host island from Saturday to Saturday, but this proposal means athletes would arrive in Rhodes on the Wednesday prior to the official start of the Games.

That would give them time to acclimatise and get some practice sessions in before the first events – basketball, football and tennis, which the Jersey team wil be involved in, get under way on the Saturday morning, and the opening ceremony will be on the Saturday evening.’ He acknowledged that if the proposal is accepted, it will impact on the athletes in terms of the extra time off work (or school), although he said the additional cost would not be much more than the cost of a week’s stay.

‘Hotel charges are very reasonable, and it would mean a small increase in cost but for a beneficial result,’ he said.

McGinnigle emphasised, though, that the proposal will be thoroughly discussed at the council meeting next week before any decision is made.

Delegates also discussed drugs testing and were told that, although the IIGA is signed up to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), officials in the island were not intending to do any testing unless a situation occurred that required it.

‘We were also given information from a dermatologist about how we can minimise sun damage to the skin and were advised that athletes would need to spend their first full day in the island doing absolutely nothing, just to get used to the temperature,’ McGinnigle said.

The available medical facilities include a modern 300-bed hospital which is designed to cope with the annual influx of up to 40,000 holidaymakers to the island, and delegates were told by the island’s director of medicine that the Games would have unlimited access to a military helicopter for transport; doctors, physiotherapists and first-aiders at every sports venue in addition to the individual teams’ medics, and doctors on-call 24 hours a day in the Games village itself.

‘Given the size of the Jersey team we’re expecting to take, we would also need an increased number of our own physios,’ he said.

He said that the accommodation and sports facilities were excellent.

‘The Games village is nine hotels, all next to each other along a strip that leads to Faliraki, We have a very intensive sports programme to get through.’ Consideration The choice of the Isle of Wight as the venue for 2011 was also confirmed, with Prince Edwards Island (Canada), Bermuda and the Faroes all putting their hats in the ring for consideration for the Games of 2013.

Only Faroes have hosted the Games before, in 1989.

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