The Opening Ceremony of the Island Games 2023, hosted by Guernsey, gets underway today (Saturday, July 8) — marking the official opening of the seven-day games.

The eyes of the world will be cast upon the Isle of Wight's 172 competing sporting elites, from 15 teams and 12 disciplines — archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, football, golf, sailing, triathlon, shooting, tennis, swimming and table tennis.

TeamIOW are buoyed by all the support they have received, and headed out to the Channel Islands yesterday (Friday).

But who are the 23 other Islands from across the world that our Island sportspeople will be competing against?

Isle of Wight County Press: TeamIOW will be aiming to put the Isle of Wight on the sporting map this coming weekTeamIOW will be aiming to put the Isle of Wight on the sporting map this coming week (Image: Isle of Wight County Press)

Åland Islands, Finland

​Åland is the smallest region of Finland by area and population, and is an autonomous and demilitarised region of Finland, created in 1920.

Åland is situated in an archipelago, called the Åland Islands, at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. It comprises Fasta Åland on which 90 per cent of the population resides and about 6,500 skerries and islands to its east.

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Alderney, Channel Islands

​Alderney is the third-largest island of the Channel Islands at three miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide. It is part of the British Crown Dependency.

As of March 2021, the island had a population of 2,141, and natives are traditionally nicknamed vaques.

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Bermuda, Caribbean

​The sub-tropic British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, found in the North Atlantic Ocean is approximately 643 miles to the west-northwest of North Carolina, USA.

Bermuda is an archipelago consisting of 181 islands, and is named after Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez, who discovered the archipelago in 1505.

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Cayman Islands, Western Caribbean

The Cayman Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory, and the largest by population. The 102 sq mile territory comprises the three Islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

The territory is a major world offshore financial centre for international businesses and wealthy individuals, largely as a result of the state not charging taxes on any income earned or stored.

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Falkland Islands, South Atlantic Ocean

​The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf, about 300 miles east of the South American coast.

Comprising of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands, the British Oversea Territory covers an area of 4,700 sq miles.

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Faroe Islands, North Atlantic Ocean

The Faroe Islands is a North Atlantic island group, located 200 miles north-northwest of the UK, and an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. 

The islands have a total area of about 540 sq miles with a population of 54,000.

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Frøya, Fosen Region, Norway

Frøya is an island in Frøya municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. The island lies in a large archipelago of islands in the Frøyhavet sea, and is rocky with heather-covered moorland as well as marshes and lakes.

There are no naturally forested areas on the island. 

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Gibraltar, British Overseas Territory

​Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and city located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 2.6 sq miles and is bordered to the north by Spain.

The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar, at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to some 32,000 people.

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Gotland, Sweden

A fully integrated part of Sweden, Gotland is the country's largest island. The population is 61,000, of which about 23,600 live in Visby, the main town.

Outside Visby, there are minor settlements and a mainly rural population. 

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Gozo, Region of Malta

Gozo is an island in the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Republic of Malta.

After the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago. Its inhabitants are known as Gozitans.

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Greenland, Northern Region

Greenland is an island autonomous territory of Denmark in North America. It lies between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Greenland is the world's largest island. Though a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe 

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Guernsey, Channel Island (host)

Guernsey is the second largest island in the Channel Islands, located 27 miles west of Normandy.

It has a population of 63,950 and the island has a land area of 24 sq miles. Guernsey was part of the Duchy of Normandy until 1204, when the Channel Islands remained loyal to the English crown, splitting from mainland Normandy. 

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Hitra, Norway

Hitra is a municipality in Trøndelag county, Norway. The municipality covers the island of Hitra and hundreds smaller islands, islets, and skerries. 

The 292 sq mile municipality is the 149th largest by area out of the 356 municipalities in Norway. Hitra is famous in Norway for its large and dense population of Red Deer 

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Isle of Man, Crown Dependency

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland.

As head of state, Charles III holds the title Lord of Mann and is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. Humans have lived on the island since before 6500 BC.

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Jersey, Channel Islands

Jersey is an island country and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France. It is the largest of the Channel Islands and is 14 miles from Normandy. 

The island was liberated from the Nazis during the second world war on May 9, 1945, which is now celebrated as the island's national day.

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Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

​Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Mallorca. 

The port of Mahon is the second biggest natural port in the world. Menorca has a population of approximately 93,000.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Orkney, Northern Isle of Scotland

​Orkney is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles north of the coast of Scotland and has about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited.

The largest island, the Mainland, has an area of 202 sq miles, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the  10th largest island in the British Isles.

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Saaremaa, Baltic, Estonia

Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 1,032 sq miles. The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea.

The capital of the island is Kuressaare, which in 2018 had 13,000 inhabitants. The whole island had a recorded population 31,000 in 2020.

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St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean

​St Helena is a British Overseas Territory located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote volcanic tropical island 1,210 miles west of the coast of south-western Africa, and 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

It is one of three constituent parts of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. St Helena is the United Kingdom's second-oldest overseas territory after Bermuda.

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Sark, Channel Islands

​Sark is a part of the Channel Islands in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy. It has a population of about 500 and has an area of 2.10 square miles.

Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors, bicycles and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. In 2011, Sark was designated as a Dark Sky Community and the first Dark Sky Island in the world.

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Shetland Islands, British Isles

​Shetland, formerly known as Zetland, is an archipelago 110 miles north of Scotland, lying between Orkney, the Faroe Islands, and Norway. It is the northernmost region of the United Kingdom.

The largest island, known as 'the Mainland', has an area of 373 sq miles), and is the fifth-largest island in the British Isles. It is one of 16 inhabited islands in Shetland.

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Western Isles, British Isles

The Outer Hebrides, or Western Isles, is an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. Scottish Gaelic is the predominant spoken language, although in a few areas English speakers form a majority.

The 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 27,000 and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands.

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Ynys Môn, British Isles

Ynys Môn, also known as the Isle of Anglesey, is a county off the north-west coast of Wales. The Isle of Anglesey is sparsely populated, with an area of 276 square miles and a population of 68,900.

The county has the second-highest percentage of Welsh speakers in Wales, at 57 per cent, and is considered a heartland of the language.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The County Press team wishes our Island sportspeople all the best of luck as we follow them every step of the way this coming week!