Bahamas to host 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games

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CGF VISITS THE BAHAMAS – Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, centre, welcomed Commonwealth Games Federation officials in a courtesy call on Wednesday, January 13, at the Office of the Prime Minister. Pictured from left are: Paul Major; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson; Commonwealth Games Federation Head of Youth Games Rachel Simon; Prime Minister Christie; President of Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin; President of Bahamas Olympic Committee Wellington Miller; and Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe. (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)
CGF VISITS THE BAHAMAS – Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, centre, welcomed Commonwealth Games Federation officials in a courtesy call on Wednesday, January 13, at the Office of the Prime Minister. Pictured from left are: Paul Major; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson; Commonwealth Games Federation Head of Youth Games Rachel Simon; Prime Minister Christie; President of Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin; President of Bahamas Olympic Committee Wellington Miller; and Minister of Tourism the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe. (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)

The Bahamas has been awarded the 2017 edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games, it was announced today, aiming to unite 1000 young athletes aged 14-18 in a Caribbean carnival of impactful competition, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.

The 6th edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games will take place from 19-23 July 2017 in the nation’s capital, Nassau and seven sports are proposed: Aquatics (Swimming), Athletics (Track and Field), Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens and Tennis. It will be the first time Judo has been presented at a Commonwealth Youth Games.

As part of the Federation’s commitment to partner and support peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Commonwealth communities, it will be the second edition of the Youth Games to be held on a Small Island Developing State, following the hugely successful Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in September last year. It will also be the first Commonwealth Games event to be held in the Caribbean for over 50 years, with Commonwealth athletes last participating in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.

Speaking after the CGF’s Executive Board meeting in Gibraltar, Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE said: “It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce that the Executive Board of the Commonwealth Games Federation has unanimously voted to award the upcoming edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games to the Bahamas.

The Commonwealth Youth Games are a unique and empowering opportunity to celebrate and engage young people on the level playing field of sport. I congratulate and commend the Bahamas Bid Committee for their passion, commitment and expertise and look forward to helping realise their dream of an impactful and inspiring Games for the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.”

Almost all events will be held in the same sporting precinct, the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, which includes the world-class 15,000-seat Thomas A Robinson stadium, host to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Athletics. The sporting action will also reach out to the communities and streets of the island, with the Cycling competition to be held on the streets of New Providence.

With just over 500 days to go to the Opening Ceremony, the Youth Games partners across the Bahamas plan to draw on their experiences successfully coordinating the 2014 and 2015 IAAF World Relay Championships. The island is also a former host of CHOGM (1985) and the most recent Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting (2015).

Welcoming the announcement, Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) Secretary General Romell K. Knowles said: “We jubilantly thank the executives and members of the Commonwealth Games Federation for the confidence placed in our country by the award of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games to The Bahamas. We also thank the CGA of St. Lucia, who first had the vision to bring the Games to the Caribbean. Additionally, The Bahamas CGA expresses enthusiastic solidarity with our Caribbean brothers and sisters in the regional Commonwealth Games Associations as we will all be hosts to our fellow athletes and officials from across the Commonwealth.

“On behalf of The Bahamas CGA President Wellington Miller, I especially thank the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie MP, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Hon. Dr. Daniel Johnson MP and Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture and the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe MP, Minister of Tourism for the solid executive and moral support and technical advice that they and The Bahamas administration provided during the bidding process.

“The 6th edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games is by far the largest sporting event ever undertaken by The Bahamas as a host and we look forward to presenting the best Commonwealth Youth Games ever.

“Having been awarded these Games, thousands of young Commonwealth athletes will now be inspired to compete in the sport of their choice in the hope of representing their country at these prestigious Games. Everyone wants to come to The Bahamas.”

The Bahamas is a Caribbean archipelago of 700 islands spread across 100,000 square miles, of which 30 are inhabited by a population of under 400,000. It is located around 50 miles off the coast of Florida. In addition to the sporting action, the VIth Commonwealth Youth Games promises a rich, colourful and diverse cultural and Commonwealth celebration, inspired by the islands’ world-famous carnival parades which acknowledge and recognise the Commonwealth diaspora and emancipation of former African slaves in a vibrant musical celebration.

Following today’s decision, the Commonwealth Games Association of the Bahamas and its Government partners have been mandated to constitute an Organising Committee to deliver the Games coordination and begin preparations with the 71 participating nations and territories. The Commonwealth Games flag and ceremonial Quaich, the special gift that has been entrusted to each Commonwealth Youth Games host since the inaugural Youth Games in Edinburgh in 2000, will be handed over to the Bahamas at a special ceremony at the Commonwealth Games Federation’s General Assembly in October later this year.