In the competitive world of sports, conceding even an inch to opponents could prove disastrous, forget going out of way to help them. But then the Commonwealth Games are not just about competition but the spirit of unity and co-operation between the ‘family of nations’, which were once under the British rule.
And proving just that was Jersey’s shooting contingent who brought along two additional full bore rifles so that St Helena could compete in the event.
St Helena is fielding a four-member shooting team in the Commonwealth Games with two shooters — Colin Knipe and Cyril Lio — competing in the full bore event. But had it not been for the Jersey contingent the duo would not have even thought of undertaking the long journey from the South Atlantic to India.
“We have very old full bore rifles which would have been useless here. So a few months back Cyril asked them for help and here they are with the rifles,” said St Helena Chef de Mission Anthony Mercury.
Shooters from St Helena and Jersey had competed against each other in the Island Games at Aland, Finland last year and it was that connection which Cyril used. “He was in touch with our association president who conveyed the message to us,” said Jersey’s Bruce Horwood, who will also be competing in the full bore event.
Both Cyrul and Colin are in their late 50s and are not expected to win a medal here but Mercury insists that the Games are about the spirit of togetherness.
When St Helena made its debut in the 1998 Games, the 4000-odd population on the island collected money to send Simon Henry and Patrick Young to Kuala Lumpur. “Thankfully we did not have that problem this time since India is paying for our travel. But if not for Jersey’s help we would have not been able to field half our squad,” said Mercury.