Team England saw further success at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, with England’s young athletes winning 13 more medals on day three in Samoa.
On the back of her debut Commonwealth Games performance in Glasgow last year, flag bearer Rebekah Tiler starred on day three winning gold in the women’s weightlifting 69kg final, overcoming the Fijians who took both silver and bronze.
It was another triumphant day in the pool for England’s swimming team. Layla Black, having already secured gold the previous day, added to her medal tally with a bronze in the 50m breaststroke with a new personal best time.
Georgina Boyle and Georgia Darwent tussled with the Australians for the entire eight lengths of the 400m freestyle final only to be denied by a fingertip, but taking silver and bronze respectively.
The men’s and women’s relay teams enjoyed more success in the pool on day three in the 4x100m freestyle with Darcy Deakin, Tazmin Pugh, Georgia Darwent and Georgina Boyle winning the women’s bronze. The men’s silver was won by Joe Litchfield, Tom Derbyshire, Lewis Clough and Kyle Chisholm.
Day three saw the final day of the competition for England’s athletics team and four further medals to add to the haul. Toby Harries, from Brighton, won silver in the 200m, narrowly missing out on gold to South Africa. In the women’s shot put, Southampton’s Sophie Merritt claimed silver with Australia taking gold and India’s Anamika Das the bronze.
High jump champion Niamh Emerson won her second Commonwealth Youth Games medal, with a 61.99 run in the women’s 400m hurdles to take bronze and add to her high jump gold.
There was also a distance running medal in the men’s 3000m where the two English athletes went up against the strong Kenyan duo of Davis Kiplangat and Richard Kimunyan. Alex Yee impressed with third place behind them and Will Richardson took fourth.
Rugby 7s made its mark at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, with England kicking off its campaign by beating a tough Namibian side with tries from Dan Marshall, Sam Aspland-Robinson and Will Wilson. On day four, England’s young rugby players will face Singapore and South Africa aiming to reach the semi-final.
England’s lawn bowls competitors also have a lot to play for after the third day which resulted in a mixed pairs loss against Scotland and narrow defeat by New Zealand. However, they showed improvement throughout and eventually beat India, reviving England’s semi-final hopes.
Young England lawn bowls athlete Bradley Coles said: “After a disappointing start against Scotland, we raised our game against New Zealand, losing marginally by one shot. However, we regrouped and put in an outstanding performance against India, leaving us with a chance to qualify for the semi-finals."
Archery’s Lizzie Warner won her quarter-final match with a confident performance and will look to overcome Malaysia in day four’s semi-final. Joe Ground faced Tongan archer Arne Jensen in his quarter-final and after a high-scoring match, Joe could not quite overcome the in-form man from Tonga.
Day three marked the start of the squash mixed doubles with England losing to New Zealand to miss out on a semi-final place. Day three saw the end of Team England’s squash campaign, which saw Patrick Rooney win silver on day two and all of England’s young squash players develop as athletes and individuals.
Squash team leader Jonny Harford said: “It was a day of learning for the squash team, and that includes myself. Doubles was a problem-solving exercise and we were beaten by the better more drilled doubles pairings today. It was a fantastic learning experience though that really got us all thinking.”
On a busy day in Samoa, England’s boxers were in action with four semi-final matches. Ben Whittaker produced another strong display of accurate punching and clever defence to win his semi-final unanimously.
Mohammed Harris Akbar also put in a solid performance with precise power punching and won by technical knock-out in the second round. Despite a slow start, Sheffield’s Dalton Smith managed to place his opponent on the back foot for most of the bout but was defeated on a split decision. Brandon Daord also produced a strong performance but likewise lost on a split.
Around 1,000 athletes aged 14-18 are competing for 107 gold medals in nine sports over five days of competition in Samoa. Team England’s travelling delegation includes 60 athletes, representing eight sports (Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rugby 7s, Squash, Swimming, Weightlifting), plus coaching and support staff.
The fifth Commonwealth Youth Games is taking place in the Samoan capital city of Apia. 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.