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The Independent Online
Q. What is the background to the rather unique sporting event called the Island Olympics?

A. The Island Games were first held in the Isle of Man 12 years ago and have since been held every two years, with the seventh Games having been held in Jersey in the week ending on the 4 July. With more than 2,000 competitiors taking part, it was the biggest sporting event in the British Isles this year. The Games will be moving to Gotland, off the Swedish coast in the southern Baltic, in 199, returning to the Isle of Man in 2001 and Guernsey hope to be hosts following that.

Members of the Island Games Association include Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Shetland, Orkney and Ynys Mon (Anglesey) from around Britain. Also involved are Froya and Hitra (Norway), Aland (Finland), Saaremaa (off the Estonian coast), Gotland, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroes, the Falklands, St Helena (in the southern Atlantic), Gibraltar (not quite an island, but given special dispensation) and Prince Edward Island (off Canada, who were the only members unable to visit us). Since the Games, Rhodes and the Cayman Islands have also been admitted to the IGA.

The idea of the Island Games is to give sportsmen the chance to compete internationally at a level more appropriate to relatively small communities. The IGA membership rules are not overly stringent, but they have decided to limit the members to 25 (for manageability) and each must have a population not exceeding 125,000. There are six "core" sports, athletics, badminton, cycling, shooting, swimming and volleyball (all of which even the smallest community would, hopefully, be able to provide and further 10 non-core sports, archery, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, netball, sailing, table tennis, tennis and triathlon.

The Island Games are rightly called the Friendly Games - many people simply coming just to meet and compete with their opponents, winning becomes a bonus. - St Lawrence, Jersey


Q. Now that Paul Ince has signed for Liverpool, he will become one of a rare breed of player who have played for both Liverpool and Manchester United at senior competitive level since the War. I believe Phil Chisnall may have been the last player to do so, in the early Sixties. Can anyone confirm this, or put me right? - C R Cruise, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

Q. Was the recent televising of the Kent v Leicestershire county championship fixture the first occasion on which a county match was televised live? - D H Donovan, Schull, Co Cork

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894