Following on from our visit to the Gold Coast earlier this year ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, my colleagues and I travelled to the Bahamas to visit the venues for the Commonwealth Youth Games, taking place this summer between 19-23 July in Nassau.
Joined by Operations Director Louise Bell and Sports Director Don Parker for the 4-day recce, we visited all the competition and training venues, explored our accommodation options and had a tour of the Games Village. We met with the Local Organising Committee and a number of local suppliers, and were able to visit one of the local schools as well.
It was great to see that the quality of the Games Village and the other accommodation locations were of a very high standard. For many of the younger athletes, this event will be their first ever overseas multi-sport Games, and so it is critical that we are able to ensure they are comfortable and fully supported throughout their stay.
The majority of sporting venues were all near completion and ideally located within close proximity of each other on the Queen Elizabeth Sport Complex. This central hub of sport will create a fantastic and exciting ‘park’ environment, and overall the venues are looking excellent.
In particular, the athletics track is in great condition and the Stadium will also be hosting the IAAF World Relay Championships a month prior to the Youth Games – a great opportunity to test out the venue and resolve any issues. Likewise, the swimming pool is an excellent venue that has been tried and tested on an international stage such as FINA events.
We rounded off the trip with a visit to the local school that Team England has been partnered with, St Augustine’s College. We were able to meet and talk with a number of the students there, and they are all really excited for the Commonwealth Youth Games to come to the Bahamas. We invited them to share their thoughts and ideas on how we could all make the most out of this exciting opportunity together.
Now back in the UK and with 100 days to go until the Youth Games, preparations are going extremely well. Team England will be sending over 60 young athletes to compete in the Bahamas across seven sports; Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Judo, Rugby 7s, Swimming and Tennis. Team Leaders have been appointed for all of these sports and we have been holding a number of workshops and meetings with each Team Leader to ensure they have all the information and support that they need.
The next few months will be crucial for our young athletes who will be competing and hoping to qualify to secure their seat on the plane. We will be following their journeys very closely and wish them all the best of luck.