Bahamas is the only contender bidding to replace fellow Caribbean island St Lucia as host of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, it will be announced later today.
St Lucia has withdrawn as host of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games, it was announced here today.
The decision to pull out was revealed during the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) General Assembly in a video message from St Lucia's Prime Minister Kenny Anthony.
The Caribbean island had been awarded the event in November 2011 but its preparations have been hit by doubts over venues and financial concerns, particularly over the lack of a stadium to host athletics.
A fire had caused severe damage to a hospital in the south of the island, meaning the George Odlum Stadium in the capital Castries, containing the country's only International Association of Athletics Federations-accredited track, had been adapted into a temporary medical facility.
The rebuild of the hospital is now not due to be completed until 2016 and the cost of returning the Stadium to a sports facility was in excess of $15 million (£10 million/€13 million) and would also not be completed in time for the Games.
A deal to hold athletics on the neighbouring island of St Kitts and Nevis could not be reached in time for this General Assembly, Anthony revealed, so the Government no longer believed they could support the project.
Canada and Scotland have already contacted the CGF to offer to step in as hosts.
The CGF have also asked for any other "expressions of interest" and hope to announce a new host by the end of next month.
"The [CGF Execuitve] Board met earlier this morning and decided to put this to the meeting, but also give the other members who would like to offer to host the Youth Games in 2017 a chance," outgoing CGF President Prince Imran said.
This year's edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games is due to start in Apia, Samoa's capital, on Saturday (September 5).
About 1,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories were expected to compete in St Lucia in what would have been the biggest CGF event to be held in the Caribbean since Jamaica's capital Kingston hosted the 1966 Commonwealth Games.
"We are obviously disappointed to hear St Lucia has taken the difficult decision to withdraw its commitment to host the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games," said David Grevemberg, chief executive of the CGF.
"Whilst appreciating the economic and environmental challenges they face as a small island nation, we will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth Games Association of St Lucia and their Government partners to support and ultimately realise their ambitions to deliver a positive and lasting legacy for the young people of their island, the Caribbean and the Commonwealth.
"Our attention for now focuses enthusiastically on delivering an inspiring Youth Games in Samoa in a few days time, showcasing a joyous celebration and impactful sport, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships made on the level playing field of sport."
Paul Bush, chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland (CGS), confirmed they were interested in stepping in as hosts.
“We note the withdrawal of St Lucia as hosts of the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games and along with a number of other countries, we have agreed to consider hosting the event," he told insidethegames.
“CGS will now work with Scottish partners to evaluate the options over the coming weeks.”
Edinburgh had hosted the first-ever Commonwealth Youth Games in 2000.
The rugby 7s competition gets underway later today at the Commonwealth Youth Games with the opening group matches taking place in the newly refurbished ‘Bowl’ stadium in the Isle of Man’s capital Douglas
The first match pitches the current hosts – Isle of Man - against Scotland; the host nation of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 at 4.20pm local time (GMT+1), with the rest of Group A comprising Canada and Australia.
England will play in group B alongside Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka and the powerful South African team before the tournament moves to knock out rounds on Sunday.
All teams are guaranteed a quarter-final place but a higher position in the group will be crucial for avoiding tougher opposition later on.
England Coach Ben Ryan said: “It’s fantastic for these lads to be here enjoying a multi-sport event.
“Experience counts for a lot and this tournament will stand us in good stead for future Commonwealth Games and Olympics.”
Trinidad and Tobago’s Team Manager Rudolph Jack said: “At this level there is no place to hide.
“To play South Africa and England, two of the biggest names in world rugby, will be quite an experience and Sri Lanka cannot be taken lightly.
“I’m confident in my players, and I know we’ll give a good account of ourselves.
“The main thing for me is that the boys enjoy and learn something from the competition which will serve them well in the future.”
The 2011 Isle of Man Commonwealth Youth Games officially closed last night with a ceremony and lively athletes party to mark the end of the fourth Commonwealth Youth Games.
Steve Colley, a local motorbike rider, treated the 1500-strong audience of athletes, officials and VIPs to a thirty-minute stunt show before speeches from David Cretney, the Isle of Man Government’s Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure and President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Hon. Michael Fennell.
The athletes and officials assembled on Douglas promenade in their country line-ups before marching into the Villa Broadway Gardens and reassembling in the sports that they participated in over the four days, demonstrating the friendships created during the Games.
Minster Cretney then spoke to the assembled guests and outlined his gratitude to the volunteers for their efforts in delivering a successful Games. He also expressed his gratitude to the Commonwealth Games Federation in supporting one of its smaller nations by granting the Games to the Isle of Man. “We are a small nation, with a big heart. We said that you were arriving as guests, but would be leaving as friends. Well that’s proven the case. Go home now and take a little of the Isle of Man’s hospitality with you.”
The President of the Commonwealth Games Federation then formally replied on behalf of the Commonwealth: “I would like to thank the Isle of Man Government and its people for hosting an outstanding Games. They have demonstrated in abundance the spirit, enthusiasm, hard work and organisational ability required to make the Games a success. I would also like to congratulate all the teams and athletes for taking part and I look forward to seeing you all again in Scotland in 2014 and for the next Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015.
He then handed the ceremonial Quaich, the Scottish Cup symbolising love and friendship, to Vui Tapasu Leung. Vui Tapasu Leung then handed a Tanoa, a Samoan symbol of Peace and Unity to Geoff Karran, MBE, chair of the 2011 Organising Committee.
It was then left to Mr Fennell to formally declare the 1Vth Commonwealth Youth Games closed and he requested that the youth of the Commonwealth reassemble in Samoa in 2015.
Afterwards there was a party for athletes and officials with music from local rock band ‘The Same’ and musician Davy Knowles. Hundreds of young athletes from 63 Commonwealth countries rocked the dance floor of Douglas’s Villa Marina to tunes by Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian and Davy Knowles also played the memorable Games anthem 'Reach Higher' that he composed.
Geoff Karran, MBE, Chairman of the Isle of Man CYG 2011 Organising Committee commented:
“We have enjoyed a fantastic Commonwealth Youth Games and seen some world class performances from the stars of the future across a number of sports. I look forward to following the progress of the athletes as they make their way in the sporting world. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make the games a success, particularly the volunteers who kept their levels of the enthusiasm going and contributed so significantly to the Games.
Dame Kelly Holmes DBE, MBE, the 2004 double gold Olympic Medal winning runner tops an impressive list of Olympic and Commonwealth medal winning athletes who will be visiting the Isle of Man during the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Kelly, who won both the 800 and 1500 metre races at the Athens Olympics, is visiting in her capacity as President of the English team. Throughout her illustrious career she won gold at the 1994 and 2002, and Silver at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Silver and Bronze at the 1995 Gothenburg World Championships, a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Silver in both the 2003 indoor and outdoor World Championships.
She retired from athletics in 2005 and wasappointed a dameby HM The Queenin the same year.
Kelly is clearly looking forward to her visit and commented:
“The Commonwealth Youth Games is a great opportunity for athletes to pit themselves against some of the world’s leading competitors in their age group. It will give many of them a really good introduction to competing in championships and I am really looking forward to spotting some of the stars of the future and see what a great event the Isle of Man puts on.”
Fellow Athens Gold medalist Tonique Williams-Darling from Bahamas, who won the 2004 Olympics 400 metres race and the gold medal in the 2005 Helsinki World Championships, has also confirmed that she will be on the Isle of Man during CYG2011. Tonique will be working in her role as Athletics team leader for the Caribbean island team.
Gymnast Beth Tweddle, the three-time world champion, who competed in the Edinburgh Commonwealth Youth Games, will be closely following the English team as their Gymnastics ambassador.
Alan Pascoe, the 400 metres and 400-metre Hurdles runner will also be casting his eye over the Games. Pascoe, whose career highlight was an Olympic Silver medal in the 400m relay in Munich as well as Gold medal from the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games, is now the Chairman of leading UK Sports Agency Fast Track and was involved in the successful bid for London hosting the 2012 Olympics.
Swimmer Sarah Price is guaranteed the best seat in the house at the Swimming, which takes place at the Isle of Man’s National Sports Centre, as she will be commentating on the event. Sarah, who won gold medals in the 100 metre and 200 metre backstroke events at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, was also the 200 metre backstroke World Record Holder, which she set in winning the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Riesa, Germanyin 2001.
Geoff Karran, MBE, Chairman of the Isle of Man CYG 2011 Organising Committee commented:
“ We are delighted that such an illustrious group of former stars will be visiting the Isle of Man for the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games and we look forward to welcoming them and all the athletes and officials to our Island where we hope to be watching some of the stars of the future making their mark.”
Tickets for the Opening Ceremony and all of the sporting events can be purchased from the Welcome Centre, the Villa Marina or from the NSC reception. Tickets for the Opening Ceremony are £15 and for sporting events range from £6 to £10 with concessions in certain sports for disabled, pensioners and juniors.
Hezekiel Romeo, the national Under-18 shot put champion earned this country’s first ever medal at the Fourth Commonwealth Youth Games at the National Sports Centre, Isle of Man, yesterday. Romeo had a heave of 17.97 metres to finish behind gold medal winner, India’s Navjetdeep Singh (18.81m) and silver medallist Ruan Combrick of South Africa, who had a best heave of 18.57m. Jamaican, Chadrick Da Costa, was fourth (17.44) while Singapore’s Wong Kai Yuen, the only other man to go over the 17m mark was fifth with 17.04m. In July, the 17-year-old Romeo broke the national (Under-18) record when he threw the iron ball 18.03m at a National Association of Athletics Administration Developmental Meet at Ato Boldon Stadium Couva in March. Four months later he improved on that record at the Seventh IAAF World Youth Track and Field Championship in Lille, France with a throw of 19.68m in the qualifying round, a national junior record.
Swimmer Carter fourth again
Local swimmer, Dylan Carter had to settle for a second fourth place finish, this time in the men’s 100m backstroke final yesterday by 0.10 seconds despite decimating his own national record for a second time.
Carter sped home in 55.05 seconds to better his record of 55.82 set in being the third fastest qualifier from the heats. The 15-year-old T&T swimmer, the youngest in the race, also erased the National Open Record of Nicholas Bovell of 55.33 which was set in February 2007, to become the T&T’s fastest short course 100m backstroke swimmer of all time. The trio of New Zealand’s Corey Main (53.53), Australian Robert Gerlach (54.05) and home-town swimmer Grant Halsall (54.55) who grabbed gold, silver and bronze respectively.
In the heats, his 55.82 clocking had shattered his previous record of 58.44 established in March at the National Short Course Championship in March.
On Friday, Carter was also a fourth in the 50m butterfly (24.94); was sixth in the 50m backstroke (26.03), and seventh, in the 200m backstroke (2:02.90), all new national 13-14 age-group records. Joshua Romany also failed to medal after he finished sixth in the men’s 50m freestyle in 23.13 seconds. This after he had the fourth fastest time of 22.90 in the heats to become the first Under-17 T&T swimmer under the 23 seconds barrier. Australian duo Te Haum Maxwell (22 secs) and Chris Raven (22.41) along with South Africa’s Luke Pendock (22.61) took the medals. Romany’s morning swim erased the 15-17 boys’ 2009 age-group national record of 23.05 which was held by Caryle Blondell. On Saturday, Romany clocked (50.02) in the men’s 100m freestyle and was 0.08 seconds out of the medals for fourth spot.
He was also fifth in the 200m freestyle final (1:50.22) on Friday and qualified for the men’s 100m butterfly (56.74) which he opted out of to focus on the 50m freestyle event. The other T&T swimmer to participate Kristin Julien was seventh in the women’s 50m backstroke final in 29.87 a new national age-group record.
Her time was just shy of the 29.84 she set in the heats as the seventh fastest qualifier. Her old age-group record of 30.20 seconds was set in March 2011 at the National Age Group Short Course Championships, while the Open record was held by Kimberlee John-Williams in a time of 29.99. In her other two events, Julien was 11th in the 50m freestyle in 26.90, a personal best time to add to her 12th place finish in the 50m butterfly, 29.37 on Friday, which was also a national record.
Rugby team loses again
At the Bowl Stadium, T&T rugby sevens team was beaten 24-12 by Sri Lanka in the Bowl final after both teams were beaten in their Plate semifinals. Host, Isle of Man defeated Sri Lanka 26-13 while T&T suffered a fifth straight loss from as many matches, losing to Canada, 7-60. Earlier in the day, T&T which ended Group B round-robin play without a win on Saturday was thrashed 53-0 by Group A winner, Australia in its main draw quarterfinal. On Saturday, the local squad suffered defeats to England (53-0), South Africa (62-0), Sri Lanka (17-5) in Pool B.
By Nigel Simon