Bahamas and Northern Ireland lined up for future Commonwealth Youth Games

The Bahamas and Northern Ireland have been lined up to host the 2017 and 2021 editions of the Commonwealth Youth Games respectively, after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said the two nations have each formally expressed their interest in the multi-sport events.

The Bahamas is bidding to host the 2017 edition of the Games after fellow Caribbean nation St Lucia withdrew its hosting rights in September. St Lucia was awarded rights for the 2017 Games in November 2011 but pulled out, citing infrastructural and economic challenges.

In her address to delegates of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta yesterday (Sunday), CGF president Louise Martin (right of picture) said: “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 of each of them how they will, through the unifying power (of) sport, help write positive new chapters in their own national stories.”

Samoa hosted the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games from September 5-11 this year. Youth-specific workshops and initiatives proved popular during the week-long Games and Martin has cited the country as an example to follow for future hosts.

She added: “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 a national scale.”

A final decision on the host nations for the 2017 and 2021 Games will be reached in January, with neither the Bahamas nor Northern Ireland set to face too much competition.

Established in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Youth Games has become an increasingly important and active part of the Commonwealth sporting movement’s strategic engagement with young athletes. The Games has provided an important springboard for future stars including Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya.