Iolo Hughes rounded off Ynys Môn’s medal-winning feats at the 2019 NatWest International Island Games with a bronze in the 1500m at the final day of competition in Gibraltar.
Hughes finished third in 3.55.68, just behind silver medallist Elliott Dorey of Jersey in 3.55.24 and gold winner David Mullarkey of the Isle of Man, who clocked 3.55.13.
Sale Harriers and New Mexico University runner Hughes has a fine track record at the Island Games, having won gold in the 1500m and bronze at 5000m back in 2015 in Jersey. He also scooped 5000m gold in the 2013 Bermuda Games.
Over the five days in Gibraltar, Ynys Môn landed six medals – two gold, a silver and three bronze.
Four medals were secured in athletics, with one apiece in sailing and swimming – both gold.
List of medals
Swimming – women’s 200m butterfly
Gold: Eve Goddard-Smith 2.23.19
Gold: Dominic Breen-Turner (Laser Standard Rig)
Silver: Ffion Jones (3000m women’s steeplechase – 12.56.71)
Bronze: Ffion Roberts (400m women – 0.58.53)
Bronze: Patrick Harris (men’s shot-putt – 12.58)
Bronze: Iolo Hughes (1500m men – 3.55.68)
In the overall medals table, of the 22 islands competing Ynys Môn finished 15th overall.
Below Anglesey were: Orkney, Bermuda, Hitra, Sark, Alderney, Falkland Islands, St Helena.
Jersey topped the table with 93 medals (33 gold), Guernsey scooped 87 (19 gold) and Isle of Man 68 (29),
After-Games chat: Dominic Breen-Turner
Island Games media officer Jamie Thomas caught up with Ynys Môn’s first gold-medal-winning athlete of this summer’s Games, Dominic Breen-Turner, to reflect on the exceptional experience he and the team have had in Gibraltar.
Breen-Turner said: “This is the first individual gold I’ve got, even though I’ve won quite a few golds in the team events and individual silvers, so it is quite a special one for me and also, as I’d argue that I’m beyond my peak laser sailing days it is really special to be able to come back and do this here.
“I’ve come out on my own this year, as we usually have a sailing team, so this year is unusual in that sense, but being able to come out here and know some of the guys from previous games or from school some time ago has been really nice.
“Even spotting an Ynys Môn t-shirt in town, it’s an immediate ‘how are you doing?’, ‘what sport are you doing?’, ‘can I come for a drink with you?’ … it is really nice having that familiarity in a really alien place.
“Saying that, it’s not even just the Ynys Môn t-shirts – it’s any t-shirt. Everyone who has been a part of this Games has been so friendly, there’s such a great vibe here, and everyone is so happy to help – they’re brilliant!”
A cursory look at the medal table will show Ynys Môn are not among those islands challenging to ‘win’ the Games, as it were, but that is so far away from what the experiences of the NatWest International Island Games are all about.
An overall medal count of six doesn’t fully demonstrate the outstanding efforts that each and every one of the nearly 100 athletes and officials from Ynys Môn have put in whilst out in Gibraltar.
Breen-Turner added: “We’ve had previous games where we’ve got more medals and things, but actually when you come out here and watch the sports you realise the person in fourth might miss out on a medal by the slightest of margins, and you never quite get those recognitions you deserve in terms of medals, but when you’re out here watching what you see is second to none, it’s so inspiring.
“I’ve been speaking to the locals and they love the impact that the Games is having, their kids are starting to take up sports because of the level of international competition they’ve witnessed on their doorstep.
“I think that captures it perfectly actually – these games are about bringing that high level of international competition to a local venue in such a friendly way and really inspiring people.”
With Ynys Môn’s bid to host the Games in 2025 receiving another boost this week as the island was announced as the International Island Games Executive Committee’s preferred hosts for six years’ time, Breen-Turner elaborated on why he thinks everything possible needs to be done to make sure 2025 carries Anglesey’s name.
“We need to push hard to host the Games in 2025. It is a brilliant opportunity and if we do it right it can be a massive, massive benefit to the island or even the wider region of North Wales where we are.
“As a competition it goes so much further than the sport itself. It pulls the locals in, the volunteers in for one reason or another – not just through helping out but contributing to the atmosphere of the week – and it contributes massively to the economy.
“We’re out here as a load of people who want to take over somewhere in the friendliest, most sporting nature of the word, and it is a fantastic experience that we should be pushing to bring to Ynys Môn in a few years’ time.”