Island Games: Jersey stars doubtful for Gotland 2017

Lucy O'Sullivan
Great Britain international archer Lucy O'Sullivan is amongst the Jersey competitors who could miss the Games in Gotland

Jersey are likely to be without some of their most experienced sportsmen and women for next summer's Island Games in Gotland.

International archer Lucy O'Sullivan is a doubt because of the cost of travel and other competitions.

Zane Duquemin, who holds the Games discus and shot put records, is unsure of his schedule, while tennis player Scott Clayton is "unlikely" to go.

"There's a time when other things take priority," he said.

"The Island Games is over the summer period, which is a very busy period for tennis, so next year it's more unlikely than likely I'll be going.

"I'm not going to rule it out straight away because it's a long year ahead and anything can happen, but there's going to be other tournaments around that period that I'll be hoping to play."

Table-tennis player Josh Band has told the BBC he is keen to go, if selected, but admits he is another doubt because of funding problems.

Gotland scene
The Scandinavian island of Gotland will host the Games in 2017, following in Jersey's footsteps

The Games, which feature more than 20 islands competing in over a dozen sports, are staged every two years.

The International Island Games Association expects the Gotland event to be of a similar size to Jersey 2015.

However, Jersey's squad may have a different feel to it than recent years with younger competitors given a chance to shine.

The Jersey Football Association has confirmed it plans to take squads to Gotland, but has previously suggested the men's line-up could be younger than normal.

Despite the potential string of notable absentees, Jersey officials still expect to send a team of more than 300 competitors to Gotland.

"It's going to be a big squad," Island Games Association of Jersey chairman Steve Jacobs told BBC Radio Jersey.

"Every two years the squad is going to be fairly cyclic, I'm glad to see a lot of those people in sports move up, a lot of them are Commonwealth Games people.

"With the team numbers I'm getting at the moment, everyone's got a full squad. If it's going to be a young squad, I'm sure they'll do well."

Many athletes have to fund their own travel and accommodation, expected to total over £1,000 per competitor for Gotland 2017.

"I'd absolutely love to go to the Gotland Games, because archery isn't in the Games after, however I think it's going to be a little bit pricey this one," said O'Sullivan, who won archery gold in 2011 and 2015, and will make a final decision by the end of the year.

"If there's a World Cup and I'm invited then I've got to do that instead because that improves my world ranking."

Jersey women celebrate Games gold
Jersey's female footballers hope to defend their gold medal in Gotland, with players already fundraising for the trip

While the cost and other priorities means O'Sullivan may not be there next summer, Jersey's women's football team have already been fundraising to help them finance the trip.

"Being a team sport, our price compared to an individual competitor is 18 times," said midfielder Libby Barnett.

"Our fundraising efforts are going to be on a much larger scale, we'll be doing lots of carwashes and cake sales but ideally what we need is a big corporate sponsor.

"We'll be going out all guns blazing in Gotland, looking to retain our gold medal and come back with those medals proudly around our necks."