THE Island showed on the international stage its wealth of talent could step up to the plate when needed — returning from the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar as sporting superheroes with 34 medals and a string of performances to be immensely proud of.

Team Isle of Wight’s athletes returned back to the Island on Saturday quietly, without fanfare, without fuss, with no civic reception to honour them.

Isle of Wight County Press: Lake athlete Charlie Metcalfe after she won the half marathon.Lake athlete Charlie Metcalfe after she won the half marathon.

But the Island community — not just in sporting circles — could not have helped but take notice of what was achieved last week.

As England’s cricket team and the England women’s football team have done, Team Isle of Wight wore their shirts with pride.

Before the halfway point of the week-long Island Games had been reached, Team Isle of Wight had surpassed their gold medal haul of seven at the 2017 Island Games in Gotland.

Team Isle of Wight was in dreamland.

Isle of Wight County Press: Members of Team Isle of Wight's shooting team won medals on the fist day of the Island Games.Members of Team Isle of Wight's shooting team won medals on the fist day of the Island Games.

There were too many highlights to mention, but who could forget the heart-warming story of sisters Hannah, 16, and Emily Niven, 18, winning the women’s judo 52kg and 63kg events respectively, the Island team’s youngest member, Amelie Haworth, 13, winning double bronze in squash at her first Games, and Charlie Metcalfe’s incredible half marathon gold, which made her the fastest-ever Island woman at that distance in the history of the Games.

Team Isle of Wight chairman, Martin Goodall, could not have been more proud of what the group achieved in the tiny Iberian principality.

“The Games have to be one of the best I’ve attended — staged in a truly amazing setting,” he said.

“To be part of Team Isle of Wight is a privilege.

“To witness the dedication across the 12 sports in which we competed, is humbling. I saw no less than 100 per cent effort from all throughout.

“When you’ve seen people train all winter, in all weathers, early in the morning or late at night, then to stand alongside them to witness their success or failure, is very emotional.

“It was also great to see medals won in some sports for the first time in a while, such as judo, squash and table tennis.

“It is great for the profile of their sport to have achieved success this time.

“As always, the 34 medals we won will grab the headlines, but alongside those go many personal best performances and results, for which teams and individuals can be very proud of.

“We had many competing at their first games. My hope is they will take the experience, bottle it, build on it, and come back stronger for the games in Guernsey 2021.

“I hope this success helps them to build their sport on the Island and be contenders again.

“Our gold medal total of 11 is the first time (not including our home games of 2011) we’ve achieved that since 2001 — one less than we won in Jersey 2015, but with a squad of 80 less this time.

“In short, it was a great result.”

Island MP, Bob Seely was among the many Islanders to congratulate Team Isle of Wight.

He said: “It was a fantastic achievement. Everyone who represented the Isle of Wight did us proud.”

“These successes are the result of great individual dedication and support.”