Bebe Jackson and Peter Soczewka have been selected as Team England’s flagbearers for the carnival-themed Opening Ceremony at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinbago.
Para athlete Jackson, 17, and Beach Volleyball player Soczewka, 18, were chosen from the 58-strong team heading to the event, which brings together over 1,000 young athletes from across the Commonwealth.
“Bebe and Peter are both talented young athletes but also great role models off the field of play in their communities and beyond,” said Team England’s Chef de Mission Francesca Carter-Kelly.
“Bebe’s desire to compete at the Games saw her take up a brand-new event last year and Peter has been recognised by his peers for his leadership skills in the way he has guided young athletes through their first international competitions.
“We're excited for them both to lead our team into what promises to be vibrant and colourful opening in the Port of Spain. It’s a tremendous honour for both athletes, which they and their friends and family should be immensely proud of.”
Jackson, a passionate advocate for the foster care system, will be the first female para-athlete from Team England to ever compete in a Youth Games and is ranked second in the Commonwealth for her age in Discus.
She said: “It’s a real honour to lead Team England out at the Opening Ceremony. It’s been a great season for me, I’ve only been doing Discus for eight months and being selected for the first Para team at a Youth Games is great. I’m very proud of where I have come from, and I hope this Games shows off my potential.”
Soczewka has been on Volleyball England’s performance pathway for five years and is the only under-18 athlete to compete on the FIVB World Tour.
He said: “I’m very proud to be able to hold the flag for Team England alongside Bebe. It will be a great experience, a fantastic moment, and a memory I’ll never forget. When my name was announced as one of the flagbearers, I didn’t even know what to say it was such a huge shock.”
Jackson will compete in the women's discus F42-44/F61-64 on Monday 7th August, the opening day of Athletics competition.
Soczewka will be partnered by Rob Morgan in the Men's Beach Volleyball competition, starting their campaign against Canada on Saturday 5th August.
The Commonwealth Youth Games have provided a launchpad for some household names over the years.
Swimming star Tom Dean won seven medals in the pool at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, becoming the most successful English athlete at a single Games. He had previously earned success at the Bahamas 2017 Youth Games, winning gold in the 200m Individual Medley and silver over 400m.
Track and field star Dina Asher-Smith, the fastest British women in history and multiple medal winner at the Olympics, World and European Championships and Commonwealth Games, took home two gold medals from the Isle of Man in 2011 in the 200m and 4x100m relay.