On 23 July 2017, some of the finest young athletes from across the globe brought the flag down on six unforgettable days of great sporting achievements and new Commonwealth friendships forged on the small island state of The Bahamas as the Commonwealth Youth Games came to an emotional end.
Over 1000 young people mostly aged 14-18 from 63 nations and territories participated in an energetic Junkanoo carnival spectacular which formally ended what Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE has already billed “a turning point in the island’s incredible sporting history”
Commenting on the success of the VIth Commonwealth Games, CGF President Louise Martin CBE said: “The Bahamas have provided a spectacular sporting stage and cultural platform for the Commonwealth’s finest young athletes to shine. All Bahamians have welcomed our athletes, teams and officials with open hearts and open arms. In return, they can forever credit the Bahamas for helping nurture them as athletes and global sporting citizens. We cannot thank the Bahamas enough for all they have achieved and delivered in record time.
The Commonwealth Youth Games are an unparalleled opportunity for nations to promote an inclusive and positive youth and sports development agenda. Through this shared focus on youth, I passionately believe that we have shaped the future together – developing and empowering the sporting stars and leaders of tomorrow.”
Over six days, 1010 athletes have competed for gold and glory across nine sports against a warm and welcoming sporting backdrop. A total of 96 Gold Medals were awarded across Aquatics, Athletics, Beach Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens and Tennis.
Over half of the participating countries will take home medals (35 of 63 nations) with host nation Bahamas, and Bermuda, Isle of Man and Trinidad and Tobago bagging their first-ever Youth Games golds. British Virgin Islands and Mozambique win their first-ever Youth Games medals. The host nation secured a historic thirteen places on the podium, with ten bronzes, two silvers and one gold across Athletics, Beach Soccer, Judo and Swimming.
Rwanda won its first-ever medal at a Games and Youth Games, securing bronze in the Women’s Beach Volleyball. The athlete taking home the most medals is 16-year old swimmer Jing Wen Quah of Singapore, who dominated the pool in individual and team events winning five Golds and one Silver medal. Team England topped the medal table overall with a sensational 51 medals.
The Closing Ceremony took place immediately after an action-packed Athletics programme, culminating with the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 Mixed Relays, a crowd favourite after the Bahama’s hugely successful hosting of the 2014, 2015 and 2017 IAAF World Relay Championships – raising the roof as the home Bahamas team comprising Doneisha Anderson, Kayvon Stubbs, Joel Johnson and Shaquiel Higgs brought home gold in the 4x200m Mixed Relay in front of an ecstatic crowd in the Youth Games’ final moments.
The Closing Ceremony saw over 1000 athletes and team officials parade together. Formally closing proceedings, the Commonwealth Youth Games Ceremonial Quaich and the Commonwealth Games Federation flag was lowered and accepted on behalf of the next generation of young athletes by 17-year-old Samoan Tristan Vaai and 16-year old Bahamian Karra Hanna. The process is already underway to confirm a new host for the 2021 Games.
Since its inception in 2000 in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Commonwealth Youth Games has provided an important springboard for future sporting stars. Commonwealth Games, Olympic and World Championship superstars such as Kirani James, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chad le Clos and Caster Semenya have all experienced the early thrill of representing their home nations and territories as teenage competitors at previous Youth Games.
Wellington Miller, Chairman of the Organising Committee and Chairman of the Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association, said: “The Youth Games have been 100 percent successful. The Bahamas put on a great show and proved to be an example of how to host competition at this level, with our own team medalling for the first time ever in these historic Games.
“I have been so impressed with the performances of all competing athletes – and the response from team managers and coaches has been amazing, congratulating the country on its hospitality and friendship”.
A total of 96 Gold Medals were awarded across Aquatics, Athletics, Beach Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens and Tennis. It was the first time Beach Soccer, Beach Volleyball and Judo appeared on the Youth Games programme.