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‘Our Sporting Heroes’

The Islands Games will be held in Gibraltar this year and to celebrate this event a retrospective exhibition will be launched next week. The exhibition called ‘Our Sporting Heroes’ is a tribute to Gibraltar’s participation at the Island Games.

Gibraltar’s over 30 year history within the International Island Games will be remembered at a major exhibition next week.

The exhibition held as from June 19 at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery will detail the many sporting achievements of Gibraltarians competing in the Games.

‘Our Sporting Heroes’ is a joint exhibition organised by the Gibraltar Cultural Services and the Gibraltar Chronicle.

Gibraltar Cultural Services CEO Seamus Byrne, former Chronicle Deputy Editor Alice Mascarenhas, and Chronicle photographer Johnny Bugeja told this newspaper about the exhibition.

There will be five vaults within the exhibition that will detail Gibraltar’s participation in the Island Games.

The exhibition is set to include many photographs taken by Mr Bugeja who extensively covered the Games from 2001 onwards.

Ms Mascarenhas began covering the Island Games as from 1995 and later co-ordinated the Chronicle’s coverage.

The Chronicle first covered the Games in 1987, and this was led by former Sports journalist the late John Shephard Snr.

Photos and information from the Chronicle’s coverage of the Island Games will be included throughout the exhibition.

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The first vault in the exhibition is dedicated to early years from 1985 to 1999, the second vault is dedicated to the Sunshine Games, and vault three, four and five are dedicated to the years 2001 to 2017.

“The fifth vault will include an interactive education section so we can include young people attending the exhibition,” Mr Byrne said.

“For the first two weeks of half days we have over a thousand students set to visit.”

As from June 25, there will tours of the exhibition on Tuesdays and Thursdays at midday. The tours will be open to the general public.

“It is impossible to cover everything and everyone,” Ms Mascarenhas said.

“We have tried to highlight the people who have been extremely successful at the games.”

She added: “Imagine an island where distances are great and we had to cover 14 sports. That is always an impossibility to do. That means we do have pockets in certain sports where we have not been there when there have been results.”

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Included in the exhibition are John Chappory, who was the first Gibraltarian to receive a medal and former Chairman of the Island Games Association, Suzanne Romero - the first woman to win gold, and other athletes such as Eloise Mañasco, Jonathan Patron, Kyrene Cumbo, Brian Lopez, Elaine Reyes, Nathan Conroy and many more.

“We have also tried to highlight recent accolades such as Chris Walker, the triathlon team, Kim Baglietto, and Harvey Dixon, Mr Byrne said.

Mr Byrne added that extensive research has gone into the exhibition and Ms Mascarenhas has sifted through thousands of photos.

“Photography has changed tremendously and you will notice the difference from the earlier photographs to those in 2017,” Ms Mascarenhas.

She added: “Not necessarily have we selected the best ones. But we have tried to select a good balance of photographs which highlight each year.”

Mr Byrne and Ms Mascarenhas are grateful to all those who have loaned medals, photos and other documents for the exhibition.

Alongside the exhibition the Chronicle will be publishing a special supplement on the day of the exhibition.

The exhibition will be held at the Gustavo Bacarisas Gallery from June 19 to July 13, and will be open on weekdays from 10.30am to 7.30pm and on Saturdays from 10.30am to 1.30pm.