Island Games: High hopes for medals
The Island Games athletics team. Front, from left, Wallis Canning, Amy Clarke and Charlie Button. Back, Esme Connelly, of Cowes Chiropractic Clinic, Trish Train, Charlie Metcalfe, Dan Eckersley, Dave Clarke and Nick Groocock.
A SMALLER athletics squad than in previous years can still make a big impact at the Island Games in Gotland, according to their coach, Nick Groocock.
Team IW will have only eight athletes at June’s event, after a number of competitors, including Olympian Jess Martin and discus star Nick Percy, had to withdraw due to other commitments.
Groocock opted not to take any developmental athletes, preferring to focus on those with the potential of winning a medal.
He said: “It’s very expensive to go and I think to take someone who is unlikely to be competitive, for whatever reason, was not the right decision.
“It’s probably the smallest athletics squad we’ve taken but I think all of them have the potential to do well.
“I would consider six medals successful and anything else will be a bonus.”
Dan Eckersley will be one of the favourites in the steeplechase, while Andy Frost will be the frontrunner in the hammer.
Gotland will be Frost’s final Island Games and, if he wins gold, he will equal Kelly Sotherton’s record of nine for Team IW.
Groocock added: “He is really looking forward to it.
“He has already been out to Sweden a few times to get familiar with the facilities, so he’ll be raring to go.”
Other competitors include half-marathon runners Trish Train and Charlie Metcalfe and hammer throwers Amy Clarke and Wallis Canning, plus high jumper Charlie Button.
Long jumper James Groocock, Nick’s son, will also hope to go one better than his silver in Jersey two years ago.