Team England ended the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games with a haul of 44 medals to finish in third place overall in the medals table.
Team England won a total of 12 gold, 16 bronze and 16 silver medals across five days of entertaining competition in Samoa.
The final day of this year’s Commonwealth Youth Games saw England’s rugby 7s team come close to winning the bronze medal match, but hosts Samoa narrowly pipped them to the podium with a 12-10 victory.
The Youth Games’ closing ceremony, filled with music, performances and hundreds of satisfied young athletes, marked the end of a remarkable event for some of the world’s most promising young athletes.
Around 1,000 athletes aged 14-18 competed for 107 gold medals in nine sports over five days of competition in Samoa. Team England’s travelling delegation included 60 athletes, representing eight sports (Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rugby 7s, Squash, Swimming, Weightlifting), plus coaching and support staff.
Australia topped this year’s Youth Games medal chart with a total of 62 medals, including 24 gold, with South Africa finishing in second with 13 gold medals and a total of 35 medals, enough to finish ahead of England, despite Team England winning 44 medals overall.
Team England’s athletes went to Samoa to gain valuable experience of an international multi-sport environment and develop as athletes and individuals.
Highlights included English swimmer Layla Black, from Leeds, clinching two gold medals and a bronze in individual events and silver in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay. Likewise, team-mate Tazmin Pugh, from Pershore, collected three individual medals and three relay medals having performed impressively in Samoa.
Maryport’s Edward Baxter also produced some excellent performances, finishing with a gold, silver and bronze medal. Niamh Emerson and Emma Hamplett both won gold for England in the high jump and javelin respectively while athletics newcomer Toby Harries, from Littlehampton, did extremely well to win silver in the 200m sprint final.
Leicester’s Lizzie Warner performed strongly to win silver for England’s archers and on the squash courts there was an impressive display from Patrick Rooney to take silver.
England's boxing squad produced some encouraging displays of accuracy and talent with Mohammed Harris Akbar, from Bradford, winning 69kg gold, Ben Whittaker taking 75kg silver and Brandon Daord, from Birkenhead, and Dalton Smith, from Sheffield, taking the 52kg and 60kg bronze medals respectively.
As expected, Glasgow 2014 weightlifter Rebekah Tiler executed strong lifts and landed herself a gold medal, with teammates Kian Panjavi and Chris Murray also taking home medals.
Louise Bell, Team England’s Chef de Mission for the Commonwealth Youth Games said: “We came out here aiming to give our young athletes the best chance of performing at their highest level. For many of them, this was their first opportunity to represent England and we're proud with how they performed and hope they feel they've learned a lot from this experience. Competing in Samoa will help them to now understand the unique nature of a multi-sport environment and assist them to grow and develop as athletes.
“We've seen some excellent performance from number of our young athletes and feel that many of them will continue to represent England further, hopefully at competitions such as the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games or the senior Games in 2018.”
England has attended all previous Commonwealth Youth Games, always finishing within the top three nations.
Some of England’s highest profile sports stars have appeared at the Commonwealth Youth Games including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Beth Tweddle, Danny Cipriani, Zoe Smith and James DeGale. The Games provide a number of England’s emerging talent with their first exposure to an international, multi-sport environment.