The city of Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Azores, is hosting the 19th edition of ‘Jeux des Iles’ [Island Games] taking place between May 27 and May 31.
The three-day event, organized by the ‘Comité d´Organisation Jeux des Iles’ (COJI) in partnership with the Government of the Azores, will gather about 400 athletes, 12-16 years of age, representing Cape Verde, Corsica, Martinique, Sicily, Sardinia, Elbe and the Azores.
The international competition comprises of nine sporting modalities, including track and field, judo, tennis, swimming, table tennis, sailing, volleyball, football, and rugby.
The idea for the games occurred in 1989 to Pierre Santoni, president of the Regional Olympic and sports of Corsica (France). The first edition of the games took place in June, 1997, held in Adjaccio, Corsica.
While the number of participating islands has changed from edition to edition, 23 islands are recorded to having participated at COJI annual event.
This is the third time the COJI competition is held in the Azores. The first time occurred in 2003, in Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroísmo and the second time took place in Ponta Delgada in 2013. This year, the competition will be held in Angra do Heroísmo and Praia da Vitória.
The ‘Jeux des Iles’ – also known as World Youth Island Games – is an annual event involving competitions in Olympic disciplines between athletes representing major islands around the world.
The Azores (population 250,000) is a region of Portugal composed of nine islands. The archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, became an Autonomous Region of Portugal in 1976. The government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores includes the Legislative Assembly, composed of 57 elected deputies, elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; the Regional Government and Presidency, with parliamentary legitimacy, composed of a President, a Vice-President and seven Regional Secretaries responsible for the Regional Government executive operations. The Autonomous Region of the Azores is represented in the Council of Ministers of the Central Government by a representative appointed by the President of Portugal. According to the latest US census over 1.3 million individuals of Portuguese descent live in the United States, the majority with roots in the Azores. It is estimated that over 20,000 US citizens live in Portugal.