The countdown is on until the 2023 Island Games, when Isle of Wight athletes will take on competition from around the world.

Teams, including the best the Isle of Wight has to offer, will gather in Guernsey, from July 7, competing in fields as diverse as sailing, table tennis, triathlon to golf.

For some of the Islanders, mostly amateur sportspeople who combine training with their day jobs, it will be a welcome return to the event, which is hosted by a different island each time.

Others are preparing for their first Island Games.

Isle of Wight County Press: Team Isle of Wight chair, Kevin Winchcombe.Team Isle of Wight chair, Kevin Winchcombe. (Image: Isle of Wight County Press.)

Many are hoping to bring back medals but, speaking to the County Press, Team Isle of Wight chairman, Kevin Winchcombe, said there is much more to the competition than getting a place on the podium: "The message, really, is go out there and enjoy the atmosphere.

"If you do well, that's a bonus. If you get a medal, that's top. But PBs are really good."

The last time the games were held was in Gibraltar, in 2019. Covid-19 put paid to 2021's event, pushing back the Guernsey gathering until July 2023. 

This week, athletes gathered at Newclose Cricket Ground, near Newport, to pick up their kit - stopping for a photo call to mark a month before the games get underway.

They will be wearing red, white and blue when they represent the Isle of Wight, paid for by Sandown-based tech firm, ICR Touch.

Its director, Colin Ringer, told the County Press: "Seeing the Isle of Wight team out there looking like this is just the best thing ever.

"If they play as half as good as they look, they've already won!"

Isle of Wight County Press: The 2023 Team Isle of Wight Island Games kit.The 2023 Team Isle of Wight Island Games kit. (Image: Isle of Wight County Press)

Also on hand to wish them luck was Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Susie Sheldon.

Herself a keen sportswoman, Mrs Sheldon said: "The team kit is wonderful.

"It's amazing they're going to an international event, representing the Isle of Wight. This is sport at its best."

Isle of Wight Council chair, Claire Critchison said: "We're so proud to have such a fantastic group of representatives. 

"We want to be behind them as much as we can." 

  • Keep an eye on over the next few weeks, as we showcase the teams who will be bidding to bring bronze, silver and gold back to our south coast shores.