St Helena become first team to begin journey to the 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games

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August 25 - The tiny Island of St Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean are the first team to begin their journey to the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man as they set off on their long voyage.

St Helena is unique in the Commonwealth Games as they are the only nation without an airport and therefore they have had to make epic travel arrangements in order to attend the event.

The team, which consists of four athletes and two officials, are travelling some 1,200 miles south to Cape Town in South Africa by ship before they can begin their near 12-hour flight north to the UK.

They will the travel by coach and ferry before they reach their destination in the Isle of Man.

As well as having no airport, St Helena is serviced by only one ship so the team must be away from their island home for more than five weeks in order to attend the Games in the Isle of Man.

"This is a fantastic effort by the young athletes", said Eric Benjamin, who is the chair of the National Amateur Sports Association of St Helena.

"Some of them have not left their island home previously except to visit the smaller sister Island of Ascension some 700 miles away.

"One of the athletes has never left the island at all.

"But distance and time is not going to thwart the courageous ambition of these young people to arrive in the Isle of Man on time for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

"The St Helena team members are all looking forward to a great time at the Games.

"The island wishes them success at the Games and will welcome them on their return to St Helena on 22nd September."

The St Helena team consists of 15-year-old Jessica Sim, 17-year-old Sarafina Yon, 17-year-old Tyrel Ellick and 17-year-old Myles Henry, while the two officials supporting them are Jeremy Roberts and Wendy Benjamin.

The Isle of Man 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games will see athletes aged between 13 and 18-years-old gets underway with the competition due to take place from September 7 to 13.

The event will be one of the most prestigious ever to be hosted on the island, with a total of 69 Commonwealth nations set to attend.

Approximately 1,000 young athletes will be competing in the seven sporting events of athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, rugby sevens and swimming, while the newly refurbished Bowl Stadium in Douglas will host the Opening Ceremony for what will be the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games.

Tickets for the Opening Ceremony and the seven sporting events are now on sale, with prices ranging from £6 ($10/€7) to £15 ($24/€11).

The cycling events, on the other hand, are free to spectators and set to be well attended due to the popularity of Manx racing cyclist Mark Cavendish, who won gold at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in the scratch race and is now the world's top sprinter.

More than 600 volunteers from the island have signed up to help with the Games and they will act as ambassadors for the island as well as assisting visitors with all the necessary information required.

Source: www.insidethegames.biz

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