Guernsey Press

‘It’s pretty special’ - Island Games star Orla Rabey wins GP award

Guernsey’s golden girl of the home Island Games still has big ambitions to fulfil in the pool.

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Swimmer Orla Rabey won six gold medals in her home pool at last summer’s Island Games, along with one silver and two bronze. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32884934)

Star swimmer Orla Rabey has been awarded the Guernsey Press Sporting Achievement of the Year award for 2023, and she is no stranger to winning honours – as shown by her nine-medal haul, including six golds, at the home Games in July.

Rabey had to battle an untimely ACL tear simply to compete. And while her career could have ended there, she does at least want to hang around for Orkney 2025.

‘I wasn’t expecting to swim after 2023, but I definitely have the motivation for Orkney now, so who knows?’ she said.

  • Listen to a full interview with Orla Rabey on this week’s Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

Rabey will be dipping her toes in other sports this year, including taking on a half marathon in September, but achieving qualifying times for Orkney will remain focal.

She has also hinted at potentially targeting the 2026 Commonwealth Games – if they go ahead.

In any case, her achievements at Beau Sejour last summer have been further commemorated in her receipt of the Guernsey Press’ annual award.

‘It’s pretty special,’ the 22-year-old said.

‘I was just looking at the names on it before me, to see some incredible athletes on there.

‘Maya Le Tissier, Ant Armstrong who won it last year, Andy Priaulx from many years ago... to have another swimmer on it, because Kristina Neves won it [12] years ago, it’s pretty special to have it again.’

Not that she will be needing any help to remember the home Games.

Competing in the same pool as younger sister Ailish had made it extra special.

‘I think these are memories to last a lifetime, for sure.

‘An unforgettable time with my friends, and my sister as well, which is pretty special to do that, and to be honoured like in the way I was in the Guernsey Island Games, I can’t really complain.’

Rabey called the glorious Games ‘a dream came true’ after the injury issues she faced in the build-up.

She had surgery shortly afterwards, helping set her up for a big 2024 and 2025 – and maybe more.