Bahamas, July 18, 2017 – Nassau – The Bahamas will take centre stage this week as the country hosts the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games July 18-23. During a press conference held at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Monday, July 17, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, the Hon. Michael Pintard welcomed the delegation, which included Secretary-General, Commonwealth Nations, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC and President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin.
“I would like to take this occasion to welcome the dignitaries and guests of the 64 countries represented during these games,” said Minister Pintard. “This is an important occasion largely because each time we pour into our young people, we are essentially shaping our future.”
Mr. Pintard that that the event is not only a ‘sporting’ one but also a ‘cultural’ one, which gives Bahamians the opportunity to display their athletic and cultural talents. In addition, the Minister said that events such as the Commonwealth Youth Games, provide the opportunity for economic growth as they add to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said that currently, the government is in the process of trying to tap into ways to monetize these types of events, which are huge undertakings for small countries like The Bahamas.
Secretary General, Commonwealth Nations, the Rt. Hon.Patricia Scotland, said that it was a ‘huge pleasure’ and ‘privilege’ for the event to be staged in the Caribbean. She said that the last time the event was held in the Caribbean was in l966. She encouraged the young athletes to do their best during the six-day event.
“Young athletes of today tend to become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Baroness Scotland. “And so we must do everything possible to help to maximize their potential.”
Also delivering brief remarks was President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Louise Martin, who expressed her pleasure at being in The Bahamas.
“We were so impressed with the facilities here when we did our tour earlier, therefore, we believe that this will be a wonderful experience for both the athletes and your beautiful country, The Bahamas.”
President of the Bahamas Local Olympics Committee, Wellington Miller also welcomed the dignitaries and guests and encouraged the athletes to “do their best.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), Dexter Cartwright also delivered remarks and said that BTC was proud to be the title sponsor for the event.
Young athletes from 64 nations and territories will participate in the six-day event, which will include: Athletics, Aquatics (Swimming), Beach Soccer, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens, Tennis and Beach Volleyball.
The Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games will be the largest international sporting event ever to be hosted in The Bahamas, and the largest-ever edition of the Youth Games, with up to 1,300 athletes aged 14-18 set to participate in a mix of personal development, competition and long lasting friendships.
The Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture coordinated the games.
This will be the second edition of the Youth Games to be held on a Small Island Developing State, following the Games in Samoa in September 2016. It is part of the Federation’s commitment to partner and support peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Commonwealth communities. 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.
Story by: Betty Vedrine
At Commonwealth Youth Games Press Conference, July 17, 2017 at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, seated from left: Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC; Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Michael Pintard; President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Louise Martin; President of the Bahamas Olympic Committee Wellington Miller.
(BIS Photos/Derek Smith)