Saturday, July 16, 2005

Gibraltar teams bring home a harvest of Gold, Silver and Bronze

NatWest Island Games * Alice Mascarenhas reports from the Shetlands

• Triple gold for Sanchez: new long distance champion
• Gib Team heads home with 16 Medals – 7 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze

Gibraltar Team return victorious from the XI NatWest Island Games today.

The final day of competition was thrilling producing two Gold medals in the half marathon in the team and individual event, a Silver medal for 14 year old gymnast Daniel Dean, and a Silver Medal in the Men’s 4 x 400m Relay run by Lee Taylor, Dominic Carroll, Jonathon Lavers, and Daryl Vassallo, in a time of 3:26.72.

The previous night the athletics team had also been celebrating Gold medal when Daryll Vassallo took the Men’s 400 metres in a time of 48.73.

With what effectively was a reduced contingent at these games, local athletes and swimmers have achieved some amazing results and a staggering 16 medals – in athletics, swimming, air rifle and gymnastics.

With 7 gold medals, this is Gibraltar’s highest gold medal count ever at the Island Games, with 5 Silver medals and 4 Bronze.

Gibraltar was 9th in the overall medals table as the games drew to a close.

The team return home tonight on the Monarch flight.

Island Games Triple Gold Medallist - Gibraltarian Michael Sanchez
Triple Gold for Michael

Runner Michael Sanchez (20) made it triple gold, winning the half marathon with ease, well ahead of Darren Gray, the silver medallist from the Isle of Man who was over two minutes behind him.

Comfortably crossing the finishing line he thumped the air and put his thumbs up knowing he was the new marathon champion of the games in a time of 1:11:44.

No doubt he will be the one to look out for in Rhodes 2007.

Hector Romero and the team went wild and when Mark Brown crossed the line in sixth position in 1:16:43, the tears of joy, celebrated another gold – they had achieved what they had come for. The team event gold was secured.

Earlier in the week Michael had proven he was tough competition in the 10,000m when he won his first gold medal of the games. And as Michael stepped off the track he immediately acknowledged the work his friend, mentor and team member Mark had put in. Sanchez said:

“He has helped me 100% and it is thanks to him. This has always been our dream. We have trained together to get the gold in the team event. And now we have done it.”

Mark said:

“I did not expect to get an individual medal. My ambition was to sit behind Michael to get the gold in the team event. I am reaching the end of a great career. I have travelled the world but this moment ranks quite high amongst my achievements. I am very proud to be a part of the Gibraltar team and Gibraltarian by residency, and this to me means just as much as winning a medal in the Paralympic Games.”

Weather conditions proved favourable from the start with just a slight drizzle throughout most of the race. Although cold, the winds had died down and the hilly course, which proved a challenge, was not unbeatable. The make-up of the course made it three or four minutes slower for the runners. Mark Brown (34) dictated the pace from the start of the race.

“That was the plan,” he said, “Michael can sometimes be a little over ambitious, and I was aware that we were being tracked by one or two teams because of his potential. He is such a talented athlete of the future and people are really aware of his capacity as a runner.”

It was at around the five kilometre point that Michael made the break – after that there was no stopping him.

“Our plan was to break on the hills, and this was a very hilly roller coaster course but we train up the Rock and we are both strong on hills,” he added.

“We never thought we would get four gold,” said team Manager Frank Carreras.

“We have exceeded all our expectations and it is fantastic."

The full Medal list for Gibraltar:

Athletics 10,000m Men Michael Sanchez Gold
Athletics 200m Men Daryl Vassallo Bronze
Athletics 4 x 400m Relay Men Gibraltar Silver
Athletics 400m Men Daryl Vassallo Gold
Athletics 800m Men Dominic Carroll Silver
Athletics Half Marathon Men Michael Sanchez Gold
Athletics Half Marathon Team Men Gibraltar Gold
Gymnastics Men Set Vault Daniel Dean Silver
Shooting Air Rifle Open Pairs Peralta E - Manasco H Silver
Shooting Air Rifle Women Individual Heloise Manasco Gold
Swimming Mens 200m Breaststroke Gavin Santos Bronze
Swimming Mens 400m Individual Medley Colin Bensadon Bronze
Swimming Mens 50m Breaststroke Jamie Zammitt Silver
Swimming Womens 100m Freestyle Elaine Reyes Gold
Swimming Womens 200m Freestyle Elaine Reyes Gold
Swimming Womens 50m Backstroke Rachel Fortunato Bronze

Related Articles & Links:

Full Medals table - NatWest Island Games 2005 The Shetlands

Medal list for Gibraltar - NatWest Island Games 2005 The Shetlands

15 July 2005 - Heloise again top 'Gold’ shooter!

14 July 2005 - AGM seeks guarantees from Menorca against political interference

14 July 2005 - Gibraltar 11th in Island Games medal tables

13 July 2005 - Gold, Silver and Bronze for Gibraltar Team

11 July 2005 - Sporting, in the rain!

08 July 2005 - Sport Minister sends warm wishes to Gibraltar's Island Games contingent

Nat West Island Games Shetland 2005

International Island Games Association - IGA

The Gibraltar Tennis & Basketball Tournament - Inter Island Games 2005


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