Samoan Prime Minister, and Chair of the Organising Committee, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, said: “Samoa is proud to once again lead the Pacific in a regional first as we host the Commonwealth Youth Games and welcome more than 1,000 athletes and officials from across the globe. We have been preparing for these Games since we secured hosting rights. We have great facilities in place and look forward to seeing some strong performances from these young champions of tomorrow.
Since their inception in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Youth Games have for some, like Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya, provided the springboard to future Commonwealth Games and World Championship glory. For many others, the Games offer a first taste of international multi-sport competition, nurturing young global sporting citizens on the level playing field of sport.
The Opening Ceremony on Saturday 5^th September is set to immerse Commonwealth visitors into Samoan culture and tradition. Dignitaries, spectators and athletes from around the Commonwealth, including Samoan Head of State His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Commonwealth Secretariat Secretary General His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma and newly-elected President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin CBE, will enjoy traditional singing, dancing and Pacific entertainment. The event commences with the parade of nations, with the previous Youth Games host from 2011, Isle of Man, given the honour of entering the field of play first.
Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE said: “The wonderful island nation of Samoa now joins the list of countries that have taken the brave and inspiring step to unleash the unifying power of sport and young people to send a very clear message about their place in the modern Commonwealth.
Tonight, the Commonwealth celebrates their role as inspiring hosts, and in return we – the participating athletes, nations and territories - will do everything we can to ensure a festival of sporting excellence that will leave a lasting legacy, respect and reflect Samoan vision and culture, and involve and inspire their young communities.”
The youngest athlete is 12 year old Maximina Uepa from Nauru, a female weightlifter in the 58kg category, daughter of world-champion powerlifter Jezza Uepa. The nation fielding the largest team is the host, Samoa, with 117 athletes, followed by Australia (84), England (60) and Fiji (47). Competition starts on Monday 7^th September in the nation’s capital Apia across two sporting precincts - Apia Park Sports Complex and Tuana’imato Sports Facility. 1,200 local volunteers are dedicated to ensure the Games run smoothly and that all guests receive a warm welcome to the Pacific.
Vitolio Lui, Chief Coordinator of the Games, said: "We are fully committed to making these Games a successful event. We've worked closely with the Commonwealth Games Federation to ensure that, as hosts, we are delivering on the spirit of the Commonwealth Youth Games whilst also showcasing what is unique about our culture and our country.
The Samoa Games experience will be the first taste of the Pacific for many young athletes and we hope these sporting ambassadors of the Commonwealth enjoy healthy contests in our great venues and forge lasting friendships with each other as they strive for sporting excellence. We welcome you to Samoa and look forward to a great week of competition."
Samoa Quality Broadcasting will be at the heart of the action, putting Samoa and the Commonwealth Youth Games on the world stage via live or delayed online broadcast from the fields of play and the accompanying Teuila Festival cultural celebrations.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be streamed live, in addition to daily highlights programmes, globally, free of charge at www.tv1samoa.tv. Users must register to access the footage.
A one-off subscription of $14.99 to the same website secures access to further sporting action, such as live broadcasts of Athletics and Rugby Sevens at Apia Park, multi-camera delayed transmission of Swimming, Tennis, Weightlifting and Boxing finals, and delayed transmission of Lawn Bowls, Squash and Archery events. For more information visit: www.tv1samoa.tv