In her address to delegates at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta, Louise Martin CBE, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is to reveal that the Bahamas has formally expressed interest to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, with Northern Ireland keen to host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.
In September the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games took place in Apia, Samoa and brought together almost 1000 athletes, aged 14-18, from 65 nations and territories. The athletes competed across nine sports for 107 gold medals. Off the field of play they enjoyed the full experience of competing in an international multi-sport competition, with both athletes and team officials residing in athletes’ village-style accommodation across the city.
In a first for a Commonwealth Youth Games, athletes participated in a range of workshops, developed and delivered by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which explored important themes around shared values, integrity and the special contribution sport can make to Development and Peace. In addition, more than 1,000 Samoan schoolchildren took part in a series of UNICEF-led Just Play events, supported by funds generated at the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony, using sport and recreation to communicate important messages about health, inclusion and gender equality.
The CGF President will speak at a Sports Breakfast she is co-hosting with the Prime Minister of Malta, the Honourable Joseph Muscat, and which will be attended by an audience of senior government and civic leaders from across the Commonwealth including the Commonwealth Secretary General, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma.
In her address, Commonwealth Games Federation President, Louise Martin CBE will say:
“The Commonwealth Youth Games is an incredibly vital way that we can share the connective and life-changing experience of a Commonwealth united with a new generation of athletes and citizens. As Samoa has just shown, hosting a special international sporting occasion like the Youth Games, empowers even the smallest nations to have a profound and distinctive impact - not just on their own young people or their own communities - but on an international scale.
“As a movement we are delighted in this strong vote of confidence in the Youth Games as a powerful sporting platform and in the young athletes of the Commonwealth themselves as positive force of great potential.
“The CGF team looks forward to working with our friends and colleagues in both the Bahamas and Northern Ireland as we undertake the evaluation process as well as understanding more from each of them how they will, through the unifying power sport, help write positive new chapters in their own national stories.”
At the event Louise Martin will also urge all Commonwealth governments to support the work of their Commonwealth Games Associations and other sports leaders to deliver on the ambitions of the CGF’s ground-breaking charter for change, Transformation 2022.
This new strategic approach – unanimously adopted by members at the CGF General Assembly in Auckland in September - marks a historic change in the movement’s focus from the four-year cycle of hosting Commonwealth Games to a wider role of delivering sports leadership within the Commonwealth, based on partnership, engagement and value generation.
This plan prioritises delivery across four key areas: Innovative and Inspirational Games; Good Governance and Management, Strong Partnerships and developing Commonwealth Sport as a Valued Brand.
Louise Martin CBE will say to delegates:
‘If I can respectfully ask one thing of each of you it is to support your sports leaders and your athletes in making our goals have full impact for your citizens and your communities.’
Other contributors taking part in the strategic event will include senior government representatives from Australia and South Africa as well as Team Malta athlete Rebecca Camillieri, a multi-medal winning long jumper and sprinter who has represented Malta at the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.