ISLAND footballer Fiona MacKinnon is hoping to come back a medal winner from her final Island Games in Gotland this summer.
Miss MacKinnon, a member of the Jersey 2015 gold medal squad, is being backed by her employer, Hawksford. The international corporate, private client and funds business is giving £750 each to her and the company’s other Island Games athletes, basketballer Cameron Stables, and rifle shooter, Craig Marett, to cover travel costs. Hawksford is also giving each of them two days’ special leave.
‘The cost per player for this year is estimated at over £1,100. We have done a lot of fundraising and hope to get that costs down, but it’s fantastic that Hawksford is contributing substantially towards the expenses,’ said Miss MacKinnon, 35.
Miss MacKinnon has been playing football for as long as she can remember, playing in boys’ teams at primary and secondary school. But it wasn’t until she moved to Jersey in 2003 that she played for a senior ladies’ team.
‘It was by chance that I met someone who played for St John’s Ladies football team whilst - on a night out. We got talking about football and I went to their next training session and that was it – I played for St John’s until last year when we switched clubs. I now play for St Lawrence Ladies,’ said Miss MacKinnon, a Glasgow Rangers fan.
Aside from winning gold at the Jersey Games, she has two highlights of her footballing career – the first was captaining St John’s when they won all four trophies two years in a row, which had never been done before in ladies’ football. The second was getting called up to play for Jersey Ladies and starting for her first Muratti.
‘I was a striker for my club when I first started playing in Jersey and my manager at the time, Jayson Lee, said that I would be much better as a defender. I tried the position for a couple of games and the Island manager, who was watching, must have been impressed and called me up to Island training. Sadly Jayson passed away a few years ago and I never properly got the chance to thank him for seeing something in me, or maybe he didn’t and just thought I was too slow to be a striker!’ she said.
Basketballer, Cameron Stables, competed in his first Island Games in 2015, when he was the youngest player in the island men’s squad. They came close to winning a medal, playing both the gold and bronze medal winners in the group stage.
‘Seeing the standard of basketball in the 2015 games was a real wake up call to me and showed me how hard I need to work to be successful in that kind of tournament. We’ve trained hard for the last two years. With a new group and a new coach this year, the men’s team is excited for Gotland,’ said Mr Stables, who is also going to Gotland as the assistant coach for the island women’s basketball team.
‘I’m excited for the challenges that the coaching role will present in such a big tournament. I’ve worked with head coach James Reed before when I played in the U21s and in the men’s team, so I feel like we are a good match and we are both looking forward to getting the most we can out of this ladies’ team,’ said Mr Stables.
Gotland will be rifle shooter Craig Marett’s first Island Games. He will compete at the Svajade Range for both individual and team rifle competitions, and is also hoping to bring back a medal this year.
‘I’m really looking forward to competing against fellow islanders. My performance in Jersey practice sessions and competitions has been good in recent years and particularly in recent months. I’m hoping the wind conditions and any nerves hold out’.
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