UPDATED: Bahamas to host 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games


Senior Sports Reporter


A concerted effort by the Bahamas Olympic Committee and the Bahamas Government paid off with the Bahamas being awarded the hosting of the VI Commonwealth Youth Games in 2017.

BOC's president Wellington Miller was summonsed to Gibraltar for a meeting on Friday where the official announcement was made by Louise Martin, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

"It gives me the great 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," said Martin, speaking after the Executive Board meeting.

"The Commonwealth 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 realize their dream of an impactful and inspiring games for the Bahamas, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth."

The Bahamas Bid Committee, headed by Grafton Ifill II, entertained Martin and Rachel Simon, coordinator of the Commonwealth Youth Games, to a series of meetings here in the Bahamas two weeks ago.

Even Prime Minister Perry Christie put in a powerful pitch as the committee won the hearts of the two visitors, who went back to the executive committee and sealed the deal.

The games are scheduled for July 19-23, 2017 and will feature competition in athletics (track and field), boxing, cycling (road), judo, rugby sevens and tennis. It will be the first time that judo will be a part of the games. 

It's also expected that beach soccer could be a part of the disciplines contested by the more than 1,000 athletes between the ages of 14-18 years representing 71 countries, making this the biggest international games ever to be held in the Bahamas.

"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," said BOC's secretary general Romell K Knowles, on behalf of the BOC.

"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."

Knowles also expressed the gratitude of Miller, Prime Minister Christie, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and the Bahamas Bid Committee for securing the bid.

"Having being 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," Miller said. "Everybody wants to come to the Bahamas."

Just about all of the activities are set to be staged in the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center where the opening and closing ceremonies will be staged in the new 15,000-seat Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

The sixth edition of the youth-games will be the first Commonwealth Games event to be held in the Caribbean since the 1966 Commonwealth Games was staged in Kingston, Jamaica.


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