Gibraltar Island Games 2019 – National Team;

by Tyronne | Posted on Sunday, July 7th, 2019

Gibraltar Badminton Association Press Release

Here we go again! Another Island Games just around the corner and this time it’s on home turf. Be it a brand new turf we have never played on. Of course I am talking Badminton courts.

We, as I’m sure all Sports Associations and competitors are looking forward to the start of the Games on 6th July, where a number of us will have the privilege to play in brand new facilities.

The Badminton Squad have been undergoing their 2 year cycle of training in preparation  for the Games here in Gibraltar. They have been training 3 times a week, as well as playing competitively on 2 days in different league formats. As usual the focus during this season has been to increase levels of Badminton fitness along with technical and tactical aspects of the game.

For those of you who are unaware, the Badminton Competition is made up of a Team event, played over the first two days, followed by Individual knock out competitions in each of the disciplines of Badminton (Singles, Doubles and Mixed). So it will be five days of

non-stop Badminton for the squad players.

For this Island Games the squad is made up of 3 women and 5 men.

The players are as follows;

Women’s Squad.

Alison Jessen (nee Avellano)

DOB; 27/11/80

Gibraltarian (British)

Ali, as she is known to us, is one of our most experienced players. 

She first represented Gibraltar in 1997 (Jersey) and these Games will be her seventh. She has also represented Gib in the Sudirman Cup (World Team Championships) twice, once in Einhoven and the other in Seville. Over the years Ali has been Singles, Doubles and Mixed Champion on a number of occasions. Ali has shown her commitment to Badminton in a number of ways over the years but no more so than getting herself physically and mentally fit in preparation for the Island Games after having given birth back in November. (She has done this for the past two Games). To do this in 7 months after having given birth shows true dedication, determination and a love for the sport.

Chantal De’Ath

DOB; 25/07/92

Gibraltarian (British)

Chantal first represented Gibraltar in the 2011 Games. Since being back from her studies a couple of years back she has been working hard on her strength and fitness along with footwork around the court and technical aspects of her game.  Chantal’s achievements in Badminton range from representing and Captaining her University team whilst in the UK studying, becoming National Singles Champion in 2016 and most recently becoming Mixed Champions along with James Linares in this year’s Nationals.

Amber Mae Prescott

DOB; 20/03/04

Gibraltarian (British)

We welcome to the squad a very young but up and coming player for the future, aged 15. Amber has been working her way through the junior ranks and in that time she has won numerous Gold and Silver medals along with trophies in the junior categories of the local National Championships. Her most notable to date being U16 National Singles Champion in 2018 and this year she achieved a runners up medal in the Senior Women’s Doubles.

For Amber, this being her first Island Games will be a massive learning curve. It will be an eye opener for her to see the standard that Badminton is played at in the Games. I am confident that she will take it as a challenge for her to aim to improve over the years to come in order to compete on equal terms. Although young and inexperienced, she has a love for the sport and has the potential to do well in the future.

Men’s Squad.

Kasper Thy Jessen

DOB; 30/04/84

Danish/Gibraltarian (British)

Kasper now aged 35 hales from Denmark but is now a registered Gibraltarian. Kasper first represented Gibraltar in the 2009 Games. He has been National Singles Champion for several years now, as well as Men’s Doubles Champion (with Charlie Avellano) and Mixed Champion, (with his wife Ali) with the exception of this year in the mixed final where he and Ali were runners up in an enthralling final.

For Kasper, his most notable moment was when he and Ivan DeHaro beat the Bermuda pair in the quarter final stages of the Doubles in Bermuda and narrowly lost in the semi finals to a seeded Guernsey pair. Kasper will as usual be a key factor in the Games this year especially in the Team event.

Charles Avellano

DOB; 23/04/84

Gibraltarian (British)

This will be Charlie’s 3rd Island Games, his first being in Jersey 4 years ago. Charlie has also shown true dedication and commitment this year as he has suffered from a serious knee injury which kept him out of Badminton in the early part of the season. He has spent many hours undergoing treatment in order to get himself back to playing fitness, which he is very close to doing in the lead up to the Games. Charlie is currently Men’s Doubles Champion with Kasper.

He has been working hard like everyone else on his stroke play and consistency over the season when able to and I am sure he will peak just at the right time in July.

James Linares

DOB; 17/05/95

Gibraltarian (British)

James aged 24 first represented Gib in the Isle of Wight in 2011. James is another of the squad who has been suffering from a knee injury and has also been undergoing treatment in order to alleviate the problem and to strengthen the knee. Slowly but surely he has been making progress and one hopes that he will be playing at full strength in July. Over the last 6 years James has represented his University 1st team whilst studying in Newcastle, has been runner up in the National Singles Championships a number of times, has been National Doubles Champions with Ivan in 2018 and this year along with Chantal became National Mixed Champions.

Henry Archer

DOB; 08/11/99

Gibraltarian (British)

Henry is another of our players who has been coming though the ranks of junior Badminton to senior status. At present Henry is studying at St Andrews University of Scotland and has already represented his University 1st Team whilst competing in the Scottish University league.

He was U18 Junior Singles Champion a few years back and has represented Gibraltar in his first Island Games two years ago in Gotland, where he gained considerable experience, which will hopefully pay off this time round. He has been training on his physical fitness three times a week as well as racket training twice weekly at his Uni along with league matches. I am sure that whatever Henry is asked to do during the Games, he will give it his all on court.

Ivan DeHaro

DOB; 19/04/71

Gibraltarian (British)

Ivan will be wearing a number of hats in these Games. Not only is he the President of the Association and the organiser of the Badminton Event for the Games but he has been called out of retirement by myself in order to strengthen our squad, especially for the Team event. Due to the injury problems suffered by some squad players I felt it prudent to ask Ivan to come in as a player in order for me to have a wider option for certain matches especially if injury were to become a factor in the Team event. Ivan was runner up in the Singles and Doubles Nationals this year, has ended up in second place in the Singles league and is the Captain of the winning team to win the Team Event league this year. So as you can see Ivan continues to play at a high standard at the local scene. Ivan first represented Gibraltar back in 1987 and now at the tender age of 48 is still strong enough and fit enough to represent Gib. He has been as committed as any of the other players over the last two years in training and in my opinion deserves his place in the squad.

Now at this point I must mention one other member of the training squad.

Thomas Reidy

DOB; 25/06/95

Gibraltarian (British)

Thomas has at this moment in time not made it into the Games Squad but is my first reserve in case of an injury causing one of the players to drop out before the Games begin. Thomas has come back to Badminton in the last year and a bit. He was unable to play much Badminton whilst studying in the UK a few years back but since returning to Gib he has been working hard on improving his technique and playing ability. Although Thomas may not play in the Games this year he will obviously be a contender for future Games and for these Games he will form part of the technical team for Gibraltar Badminton.

Finally comes the OLD MAN. Me.

Robert Brooks (Bob to my friends)

DOB; 10/05/58

British (Gibraltarian)

National Coach

I have been National Coach for 25 years. I first represented Gibraltar as a player/ trainer in the Faroes Island Games in 1989. Since 1994 I have been training/coaching the National Squad and have attended all the Island Games with the exception of Isle of Man in 2001 due to the National side competing in the Sudirman Cup (World Team Championships) and Rhodes in 2007 where Badminton was not offered. That year we participated in a Badminton Island Games competition in Greenland.

For me the most important thing is to do well in the Team Event and it is always our aim to place as high as possible. The most notable being in Gotland 1999 where we finished in 6th position which is our highest ever placing.

Being the Home Games I realise this can put even more pressure on the players as they will all want to perform well in front of family, friends and supporters. All I want to say to the squad players is that you have all worked hard over the last two years and I know you will all give of your best on the day. But for me (apart from trying to finish as high as possible in the rankings of the team event) the most important thing is for you to enjoy the matches you play in as well as the experience of meeting and playing against others from the participating Islands who also have a love of the Sport of Badminton.

Good Luck to all Gibraltarians participating this year.

Bob Brooks

National Coach

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