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Commonwealth Games Federation inspects Gibraltar as part of 2021 youth games bid

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

Formal site visits to Gibraltar and Trindad & Tobago - the two countries bidding for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games - began yesterday (29 January 2019) as part of the host country partner selection process for the seventh edition of the multi-sport event.

A delegation representing the organising committee arrived in Gibraltar on Monday, a day prior to the start of the actual visit.

They were expected to visit sites across Gibraltar, some of which are still under construction as Gibraltar prepares to host this summer’s Natwest International Island Games.

Gibraltar was just two of the members presenting a bid last October to host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games, the opportunity arose after Northern Ireland pulled out from hosting the event.

At the time David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Federation said: “The Commonwealth Youth Games are an important, inspiring and impactful festival of sport, development and global friendship for the Commonwealth’s most-promising young athletes.”

“We have received two initial bid submissions to host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games from the Commonwealth Games Association of Gibraltar and the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association.”

“The CGF will now review these host proposals in detail in collaboration with the candidate cities, the CGF Executive Board and Management Team in order to be in a position to make an award in 2019.”

The Commonwealth Youth Games, which started in 2000 and were most recently held in The Bahamas in July 2017, will see one thousand of the Commonwealth’s finest young athletes, aged 14-18, taking part in a festival of global sport, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.

On Monday, CGF Chief Executive David Grevemberg CBE said in a press statement issued by the Commonwealth Games Federation: “The Commonwealth Youth Games are an important event on the CGF’s quadrennial calendar that aims to unite young athletes and their communities across 71 nations and territories in a transformational sport and cultural experience with social impact.”

“For hosts partners, and in particular Organising Committees from small states and island states, the Commonwealth Youth Games are a fantastic platform to promote the Commonwealth’s diverse destinations, activate sport and social networks, strengthen event hosting and safeguarding policy, engage and inspire local citizens as supporters and volunteers – all with a strong focus on youth leadership and empowerment.”

The visit to Gibraltar is expected to last just two or three days before the team heads to Trinidad & Tobago for another visit on February 6.

The delegation is led by Rachel Simon, the CGF’s Head of Commonwealth Youth Games, accompanied by CGF Chief Operating Officer Darren Hall and CGF Sports Committee members representing the two bidding regions (for Europe, Commonwealth Games England’s Sports Director Don Parker and for the Caribbean, Secretary General of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Commonwealth Games Association Keith Joseph).

CGF Head of Commonwealth Youth Games Rachel Simon said “Our job is to examine whether a host is able to stage the Youth Games, set against a number of Games requirements – but more than that, to better understand the vision and ambition behind their proposals and how this very special event might benefit the local and national communities and sporting landscape.

The visits form part of our ongoing evaluation process and contribute to our final assessment and recommendation to the CGF Executive Board over the coming months. Our ambition is to select and announce a 2021 host as soon as possible.”

The bid process commenced in July 2018 when the CGF wrote to member CGAs calling for expressions of interest in hosting the 2021 Youth Games. By the deadline of Friday 19 October, the CGF received two submissions from Gibraltar and Trinidad & Tobago. The previous hosts of the Commonwealth Youth Games are: Edinburgh 2000(Scotland), Bendigo 2004 (Australia), Pune 2008 (India), Isle of Man 2011; Samoa 2015; Bahamas 2017.

Since their inception, the Commonwealth Youth Games have for some, like Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya, provided the springboard to future Commonwealth Games and World Championship glory.

For many others, the Games offer a first taste of international multi-sport competition, nurturing young global sporting citizens on the level playing field of sport.